Delhi BJP chief's supporters protest, seek ticket for him

Delhi BJP chief's supporters protest, seek ticket for him

Delhi BJP chief's supporters protest, seek ticket for him

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) worst fears of dissent over Assembly ticket distribution came true on Tuesday as supporters of the Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay protested at the party office for not including their leader in the first list of nominees.

 Upadhyay’s supporters virtually came to blows with other party workers and the two groups pushed each other around, leaving the Delhi BJP chief trying in vain to douse the fire. The police were called in to restore order.

Though Upadhyay’s electoral ambition was apparent in the build-up for the February 7 election, the Delhi BJP chief tried to convince his supporters that he himself opted out of the contest. “I will help other nominees fight elections from all the seats,” he said, amid slogan shouting by his supporters in his favour.Supporters of another ticket aspirant, Delhi BJP vice-president Shikha Rai, also created a ruckus at the party’s Pandit Pant Marg office, questioning the grounds for denying her a ticket in the first list.

The ugly scenes followed rumblings against the naming of former police officer Kiran Bedi as the party’s chief ministerial candidate.

Party sources said its decision to release the first list of  62 candidates after midnight on Monday was an attempt to minimise the scope for protests by disgruntled ticket seekers and their supporters.

“The candidates for the remaining four seats will also be announced late in the night and those who fail to make it to the final line up will have no time to protest against the party decision as Wednesday is the last for filing nominations,” said a former MLA, who has been repeated as a candidate.  

A party source said some embarrassment was in store for Bedi as a crowd in Krishna Nagar constituency – the pocket borough of Union minister and five-time MLA Harsh Vardhan – raised slogans in his favour. 

Some BJP leaders claimed protests by supporters of disgruntled ticket aspirants took place in Rohini, Dwarka and Okhla seats as well.

The BJP has given tickets to seven “outsiders” – leaders who came into the saffron fold in the run-up to the elections.

These included former Union minister Krishna Tirath who quit the Congress to bag a BJP ticket from Patel Nagar, expelled AAP leader Vinod Kumar Binny who will contest from Patparganj, Delhi Speaker and former AAP leader M S Dhir who will contest from Jangpura, former Congress MLA Arvinder Singh who is BJP nominee from Deoli and another Congress legislator S C Vats who will contest on a BJP ticket from Shakur Basti.