Supporters of Delhi BJP chief demand ticket for their leader

Last Updated 20 January 2015, 14:42 IST
BJP was today grappling with internal strife with its Chief Ministerial nominee Kiran Bedi facing a restive crowd in her Krishna Nagar constituency while angry supporters of Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay held a protest at party office accusing the leadership of sidelining him by not giving a ticket.

Bedi was not accorded any welcome in her first roadshow at Krishna Nagar constituency in East Delhi which was represented by senior leader Harsh Vardhan for five consecutive terms.

The BJP workers kept shouting slogans in support of him, showing their displeasure to party's decision to field the former cop from the seat before they were pursuaded by both Vardhan and MP Maheish Girri.

Protests by supporters of ticket aspirants took place in many areas including Rohini, Dwarka and Okhla. BJP ticket aspirant from Okhla seat resigned from the party.

High drama was witnessed at the Delhi BJP office as Upadhyay's supporters shouted slogans and staged a sit-in protest for "not allowing" their leader to contest.

A scuffle had also broken out at the office and the police was called to restore order as Upadhyay's efforts to pacify them did not succeed. They demanded that Upadhyay be fielded from Mehrauli constituency, considered a stronghold of BJP.

Upadhyay, who had earlier indicated his willingness to fight the polls, said he voluntarily opted out to focus on campaigning in the entire city.

"I want to contest on all the 70 seats. I want to focus on entire Delhi and that is why I am not contesting. BJP workers want the party to win and this is their feeling.

"These are momentary issues. We want the party to win under Kiran Bedi's leadership. We have to oust Arvind Kejriwal. I am a worker of the party and it is my responsibility to make BJP victorious," Upadhyay told his supporters.

He said he has decided himself not to contest the elections. "It is my own decision. The Parliamentary Board asked me and I conveyed them my decision."

Supporters of another ticket aspirant Sikha Rai, who is Vice President of Delhi BJP, also staged a protest at the Delhi BJP office openly slamming the senior leaders for denying tickets to her."For the last five months, we had been garnering people's support for Upadhyayji, but at the last moment he was denied ticket. The party should have fielded him from Mehrauli. We will continue our protest until he is given the ticket," said Umesh Kumar, a supporter of Upadhyay.

Dheer Singh Bidhuri, a ticket aspirant from Okhla seat, resigned after he was denied a ticket by the party.

Besides, supporters of party leader Abhay Dubey also staged protest at party's office and raised slogans in his support, demanding a ticket for him from Laxmi Nagar.

In Rohini also, some BJP workers staged protest and raised slogans against senior party leadership.

Reacting to party workers' protest at Delhi BJP office, Union Minister Harshan Vardhan said it seems that some of the party workers have been misguided that's why they resorted to protest.

"I feel that some of the party workers have been misguided, but if party's workers get angry for sometime, they realise quickly at next moment that they are workers of BJP," he said.

Senior police officials were seen trying to restore normalcy.    However, party's media in-charge Praveen Shankar Kapoor said police was not called by the party.

(Published 20 January 2015, 14:17 IST)

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