BJP troika marginalised

NEW DELHI, DEC. 30. The marginalisation of senior leaders like Mr. Madan Lal Khurana, Prof. Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Mr. Sahib Singh Verma, continued dominance of the group led by Delhi unit president, Mr. Mange Ram Garg, emergence of Chandni Chowk MP, Mr. Vijay Goel, as a leader in his own right, and the continued infighting coupled with failure of the party to corner the Sheila Dikshit Government on important issues marked the year for the BJP in Delhi.

While the year 2001 saw marginalisation of the troika of Mr.Khurana, Mr. Verma and Prof. Malhotra in Delhi politics, it also witnessed the emergence of new leadership in the shape of Mr. Vijay Goel. Mr. Goel was able to turn the tables on veterans of many a battle within Delhi BJP and even managed to get a berth in the Union Cabinet. In fact, his elevation is being seen as a signal that the party was building up leadership for the future in the Capital.

The Central leadership, time and again, continued to be indifferent to the troika's protests. Threats of extreme action by Mr. Khurana turned out to be a damp squib and he was forced to retreat into a shell every time he decided to take on the party's Central leadership. In fact, Mr. Khurana's actions suggests that he had lost the sympathy of the leadership and was now buying time. The faction dominated by Mr. Garg completely sidelined Mr. Khurana and he was rarely seen at party programmes and functions. In fact, Mr. Khurana organised parallel functions in support of various demands only to retract at the last moment after being reprimanded by the Central leadership or by the Prime Minister.

Similarly, Mr. Verma, who had joined hands with Mr. Khurana to raise various issues, deserted his former bete noire at the last moment after being pestered by the Central leadership. Mr. Verma's name was also dragged into the controversy as his work in quake-hit Gujarat drew criticism in the shape of allegations of land grab and trying to make commercial gains. Attempts to stall the enhancement of land compensation rates also met with little success and only brought him the wrath of the farmers. In fact, Mr. Verma still nurtures the reported assurance given to him by the Prime Minister in 1998 that he would be inducted into the Union Cabinet. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why he parted ways with Mr. Khurana. For his part, Prof. Malhotra also stayed away from any controversy and after the initial bonhomie, he refused to be part of Mr. Khurana's team which was battling against the BJPs leadership. He also refused to be part of dissidence and was satisfied with his role as national spokesman.

As for Mr. Garg, the party performed below average during 2001 and on many a issue, in which the Congress Government could have been cornered, he fumbled. Be it the CNG and transport crisis, the excise policy, the relocation of industries, corruption in the Delhi Government, removal of Ministers on corruption charges, the Cabinet reshuffle, the Delhi Jal Board case involving the Chief Minister, delay in construction of flyovers, scarcity of water and power and other related issues affecting the common man, the Delhi BJP failed to raise them in an effective manner. The continued infighting had an adverse affect on its performance with MLAs or senior leaders rarely attending party programmes in strength.

The situation was no different for the BJP Legislature Party. Led by the Leader of the Opposition, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, the performance of his team left a lot to be desired. Mr. Mukhi failed to raise effectively important issues within the Assembly and always gave an opportunity to the ruling party to lash out at the BJP by raising irrelevant issues. His decision to bring a no-confidence motion against the Sheila Dikshit Government twice this year provided an opportunity to the Congress Government to reel out its achievements. The BJP suffered loss of face and the ruling party gained at its cost. Except for Mr. Nand Kishore Garg and Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the performance of the BJP MLAs inside and outside the House has been lacklustre.

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