BJP to decide CM candidate soon

The BJP is expected to take a decision in a couple of days on its chief ministerial candidate for Delhi, as sulking national capital city president Vijay Goel wants an early decision to end the squabbling that is hurting party’s image ahead of the Assembly elections. 

The BJP state unit has reportedly been witnessing infighting over the issue of the chief ministerial candidate, as the Central leadership had failed to finalise the person who would be the party's face in the poll. Insiders say a decision has been taken by the Central Election Committee (CEC) on Sunday, but the announcement may take a couple of days.

A large section in the party, including state in-charge Nitin Gadkari, is in favour of former health minister Harsh Vardhan.

Gadkari told reporters on Monday that the news of Goel tendering his resignation was not correct, but emphasised that a “decision will be taken soon on the chief ministerial candidate issue”. 

The party was also waiting for senior leader Arun Jaitley to return from the US before the decision was announced.  He flew back to the national capital on Monday.

Some party leaders feel that delay in taking the decision is hurting the BJP's electoral prospects. More so as Goel has publicly protested against the central leadership's move by walking out of Sunday’s election panel meet.

To end the bickering, party president Rajnath Singh met Goel and Harsh Vardhan and warned them not to publicly air their differences.

This was visible in a press conference, where Goel said, “I am not a candidate for any post. The Parliamentary Board of the party will take a decision on the issue, after taking the views of the party workers into consideration.”

Asked whether he would work for the party if Vardhan was made the poll mascot, he could not hide his feeling while stating: “I will be able to react only after such a decision is taken”. Acknowledging that the delay was hurting the party’s functioning, Goel said,“It will be beneficial if the party takes such decisions, including the decision over the list of candidates, as early as possible.” 

Goel also played down reports that he walked out of the CEC meeting on Sunday to protest against the announcement of Harsh Vardhan’s name. “As state president, I am not even a member of the CEC. Once the meeting started, I left the party office to go to the Yamuna Sports Complex to attend a function. I also didn’t threaten to quit as party president,” he said.

Goel is believed to have opposed Vardhan’s elevation during his meeting with the BJP top brass, including Rajnath Singh, Narendra Modi and Sushma Swaraj, claiming that he would be a more popular chief ministerial candidate than his rival, as suggested by around 10 opinion polls.

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