Having not declared a chief ministerial face for the Delhi Assembly elections against the formidable Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) unit led by Arvind Kejriwal, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hoping to utilise the collective strength of its leaders in its attempt to secure a favourable verdict.
“It is correct that we have not declared a chief ministerial face. But we have several leaders who are quite popular across the state. The effort it to utilise the combined strength of each and everyone,” said a party leader.
Party insiders say that different individuals beginning for state chief Manoj Tiwari, who is also a Lok Sabha MP from North-East, Union minister and former chief minister Harsh Vardhan, another MP Pravesh Verma, who is a sizeable following especially in outer Delhi, and other leaders like Meenakshi Lekhi, Vijay Goel and Vijender Gupta, it has an umbrella leadership that needs to work together to deliver and upset.
In addition, another Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, is from Delhi and also in-charge of the ministry involved in providing ownership rights to lakhs in unauthorised colonies.
“The effort is to utilise their combined strengths,” said the leader quoted above. He pointed out that even in Haryana or Maharashtra elections in 2014, the party had not declared a chief ministerial face.
In the last Delhi elections, however, the BJP had declared retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi as its leader to disastrous results. The party won 3 of the 70 seats while the remaining 67 were mopped up by the Kejriwal-led outfit.
However, BJP leaders believe that many who had romanticised AAP in the last elections would assess the party more critically this time. There is also a view that if the Congress does not perform as poorly as last time when it failed to bag a single seat, the BJP could be the gainer.
“They have not fulfilled many promises. There are rebels in their ranks. And when a Union Minister, Ram Vilas Paswan, asked questions about the quality of water being provided to the people, they fumbled for response. On the other hand we can project the work done by the Central government led by Narendra Modi, who got an emphatic endorsement in the 2019 polls,” the BJP leader said.
Asked about AAP claims on having improved education and cheaper electricity, he said they got an opportunity, naturally, in some areas they have worked.
“But the picture is not as rosy. Some schools may have seen an improvement, but overall, why is there a huge number of dropouts. In Maharashtra and Gujarat, there has been cross-migration from private schools to government schools. Is that the case in Delhi?” the leader asked.
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