NEW DELHI: The BJP in Delhi finds itself in a peculiar predicament. The party is keen to form the government in Delhi and has even worked out a strategy but it does not have a chief ministerial candidate.
The contenders jostling for the post are not considered good enough by the central party leadership. To avoid an ugly situation and unnecessary heartburn, the party has decided to talk to all MLAs and CM hopefuls before taking a decision. Senior leader Nitin Gadkari and Delhi in charge Prabhat Jha will meet them individually and take their views. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take a final call on the issue, a Delhi BJP leader told ET.
Leaders who are in the reckoning for the CM’s post include senior Delhi leader Jagdish Mukhi, Rajya Sabha member Vijay Goel, MLA Rambir Singh Bhiduri and recently elected MP Meenakshi Lekhi. Earlier, former cop Kiran Bedi too had thrown her hat in the ring, saying that she was willing to take on the responsibility of Delhi chief minister.
A senior central leader of the party said that Mukhi’s credentials were the mostsuited for the job. “Being a six-time MLA, he is the senior-most in the party. He is a leader of opposition in the assembly and he has also been finance minister of the Delhi government,” the leader said. However, some younger members of the party were of the view that Mukhi, at 74, was nearing the age limit of 75 set by the party.
If BJP opts for a younger face, then Lekhi is likely to be the person. “She is a woman, who belongs to Delhi and understands the city and its problems very well. But others in the party could have a problem because she has not gone through the grind of Delhi politics,” said another BJP leader.
Kiran Bedi could have a problem on the same count.
“She is not even a party member yet,” the leader said. Central leaders were not keen on Bhiduri since he was not a hardcore BJP member. “He has been in other parties and seen as somewhat of an opportunist,” said a Delhi BJP member.
Vijay Goel was also believed to be lobbying hard for the job. He was Delhi state chief ahead of the assembly polls. He had tried his best to stall Harsh Vardhan’s candidature but had to give in for the sake of “party discipline.” He was later accommodated in Rajya Sabha.