There seems to be resentment brewing among a section of Delhi BJP leaders and workers over the inclusion of cricketer-turned-BJP member Gautam Gambhir’s name in the party’s list of candidates recommended by the state unit to the central leadership for the seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Delhi in the upcoming general elections. The BJP’s central leadership is said to be inclined to field Gambhir, who joined the BJP on 22 March, from the prestigious New Delhi constituency.
The BJP had swept the national capital in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, winning all seven seats. Meenakshi Lekhi, the high-profile leader, is the incumbent party MP from New Delhi.
The section of Delhi BJP leaders and activists, who are unhappy with Gambhir’s inclusion as a probable frontrunner for the New Delhi seat, has maintained that the party should field an “experienced, political candidate” from this constituency, or else the battle would become extremely tough there, according to party sources.
“It will demoralise the confidence of other candidates as well as party workers who have been working hard if the cricketer is fielded from New Delhi seat,” said a party leader.
A senior leader, who did not wish to be named, said the BJP should field a candidate from among active party leaders and workers who had been working hard and giving all their time to the constituency for a considerable period of time.
It is learnt that Lekhi had during a recent state unit meeting expressed her disappointment over Gambhir’s probable nomination from the New Delhi seat. The meeting had been convened by Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari, and attended by all seven MPs, Delhi party in-charge Shyam Jaju, and other senior leaders.
Lekhi is the only woman MP from Delhi and she has reportedly been seeking re-nomination from her seat which she had won with over 4.5 lakh votes in 2014. The sources however said the BJP’s central leadership was irked by the resentment of a section of state leadership over Gambhir’s probable nomination from New Delhi.
Several BJP leaders, including Ravinder Gupta, Satish Upadhyay, and even Jaju have reportedly been seeking party ticket from the New Delhi constituency.
The previous list of 21 probable candidates shortlisted by the Delhi BJP was turned down by the high command, seeking “more representative” nominations for final selection of candidates for the seven seats in the national capital. It also apparently asked the state leadership to include Gambhir’s name in its final recommendation.
The Delhi BJP then prepared and sent a fresh list of 31 probable candidates in all for the seven constituencies a few days ago, which figured the name of Gautam Gambhir among a few others from New Delhi constituency.