NEW DELHI

Khurana may prove to be his party's undoing

NEW DELHI OCT. 5. Cracks have started appearing in the Delhi unit of the BJP. The string of promises made by the Delhi BJP president, Madan Lal Khurana, is taking the party nowhere. Despite his repeated assertions about the positive steps taken by the BJP-led Central Government to fulfil his "wish list'', nothing seems to be moving ahead thus hurting the credibility of the party and its leadership in the eyes of the people.

It was almost a month ago that Mr. Khurana had declared that the Union Cabinet would take a decision within seven days on the issue of coming out with an offer for conversion of leased industrial property into freehold property. Similarly, he had stated that the DDA had been asked to prepare a Cabinet note on the issue of allowing industrial land to be used for residential and commercial purpose. This note, he had claimed, would be put up in 15 days according to an assurance given to him by the Union Urban Development Minister, Ananth Kumar.

But everything remains stagnant. The Cabinet has not taken up either of the issues throwing up questions about the claims of Mr. Khurana and how seriously they should be taken. Similarly, on the issue of Statehood, Mr. Khurana had talked about "full Statehood'' for Delhi and had threatened to launch an agitation on the issue. But later he did a climbdown and toned down his "full Statehood'' concept to some more powers for the duly elected Government in Delhi. It is believed that the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, had conveyed to Mr. Khurana that it was not possible to grant full Statehood to Delhi and the party should therefore make necessary changes in its stand.

In fact, many in the party term Mr. Khurana as a "man in a hurry'' to take over the reins of Delhi. There may be no reason to doubt his intentions, but his penchant for making announcements at the drop of the hat and then going back on them certainly does not go down well with the people or within in the party. For instance, despite knowing that a number of court cases are going on regarding issue of conversion of industrial plots into commercial or residential ones, Mr. Khurana went ahead and made announcements about some decision coming through. "No such assurance was given by the Union Urban Development Minister. He had only assured of speeding up the process. But keeping in mind the proceedings in the court, it would not be possible to take a decision in this regard at this moment,'' remarked a senior BJP leader.

In fact, the affidavits filed by the Union Urban Development Ministry during the tenure of Jagmohan are proving to be a big obstacle in the way of fulfilling the populist agenda outlined by Mr. Khurana to ensure the BJP's return to power in Delhi. Sources said the Union Urban Development Ministry had examined the issue thoroughly and had found it difficult to turn around a decision which could invite the wrath of the court and protests from the planners or experts.

Many in the BJP are now coming round to the opinion that it would be a good idea for the party and Mr. Khurana to put a full stop for the moment and wait for the previous announcements to be fulfilled first. "The people of Delhi will not longer respect their "pujari'' if he continues to make promises and does not translate them into action.

The best option would be to continue the offensive against Sheila Dikshit Government and tone down his wish list,'' remarked another BJP leader.

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