BJP hunts for suitable women

 At least one of the BJP’s candidates for seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi would be a woman while none of the 31 city legislators is expected to make it to the final list of parliamentary poll nominees, said party sources on Monday.

The party would ideally want former Indian Police Service officer Kiran Bedi to be the lone woman candidate.

In case things do not work out with Bedi, the BJP may consider fielding national spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman from a Lok Sabha seat in the April 10 polls in city, said a party officer.

Chances in four seats

Sources said party sees its chances strong on four seats and on the rest the result would depend on its success in wooing Muslim voters, who form a significant chunk of the electorate in three constituencies.

Muslim voter-dominated seats of Chandni Chowk, North East Delhi and East Delhi seats are posing a challenge before the BJP strategists over selection of winnable candidates. Veteran journalist M J Akbar’s name was among the probables from Chandni Chowk, said a BJP leader.  

The BJP’s internal surveys have indicated that the party has an advantage in New Delhi, South Delhi, North West Delhi and West Delhi constituencies.

Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan, himself a legislator from Krishna Nagar, has denied being a possible party candidate from the East Delhi parliamentary constituency. “I am not contesting,” he said.

He, however, refused to reveal the party’s stand on whether it would field any of the city legislators in the parliamentary election.

A source in the BJP said: “The party’s strength in the Assembly may dip if a legislator wins the Lok Sabha seat. This would, in a way, reduce the BJP’s ability to play a role in the formation of the next Delhi government.”

Party leaders said the seniors may not rush into announcing all the seven names of candidates in one go.

“They want to wait and know the Congress candidates from South Delhi, Chandni Chowk and West Delhi seats. A small adjustment in the final line up could swing the battle in BJP’s favour in these seats,” said a leader, hinting at the possibility of the rival party dropping some of the seven sitting Delhi MPs.

The hidden power of the Aam Aadmi Party to have a bearing on the result is also a factor playing on the minds of BJP candidates.

“Their South Delhi candidate, Col Devendra Sehrawat, is strong but in East Delhi the nominee, Rajmohan Gandhi, may not give a fight to his rivals,” said a BJP leader.

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