Modi to be BJP's Assembly poll mascot in Delhi

Modi to be BJP's Assembly poll mascot in Delhi

At a recent meeting held to plan BJP's poll strategy and identify candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls in the national capital region of Delhi, party leaders suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be the face of the party as it goes to t

The BJP will bank on brand Modi in Delhi Assembly polls as it is finding it difficult to zero in on a local leader who has wider acceptance and can match the aura of its adversary Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo and incumbent Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

At a recent meeting held to plan BJP's poll strategy and identify candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls in the national capital region of Delhi, party leaders suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be the face of the party as it goes to the polls.

The meeting was chaired by senior BJP leader and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, who was appointed as party's election in-charge for Delhi last month.

Bhojpuri singer-turned-politician and Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari, Union minister and former Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel, and BJP's sitting MLA Vijender Gupta, a grassroots leader who also served as party's president for its Delhi unit in past, are the prominent faces of the BJP.

But, the majority of the BJP leaders at the meeting were against picking any of them as party's chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming polls, pointing out that projection of chief ministerial candidate on two consecutive occasions in past failed to serve the purpose, party sources said.

The BJP has been struggling to find an effective face to lead the party in polls since the exit of political heavyweight and former chief minister Madan Lal Khurana from the party in 1996 and death of Sahib Singh Verma, who served as Delhi chief minister from 1996 to 1998, in a road accident.

In 2008 Assembly polls, the BJP announced Vijay Kumar Malhotra as its chief ministerial candidate. Malhotra easily won his Greater Kailash Assembly seat but failed to dislodge the Sheila Dikshit government.

The saffron party named India’s first woman IPS officer Kiran Bedi as its chief ministerial candidate for the Delhi Assembly polls in 2015. But the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP swept the elections securing an absolute majority in the Assembly, winning 67 of the 70 seats.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is our leader. We will seek votes in his name and form our government. After election results are announced, our legislators will take a call on who should be the chief minister in consultation with the party high command,” a senior BJP leader said.

Though the term of Delhi Assembly is due to expire in February next year, polls to elect a new Assembly is expected to be held this year.

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