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Posted at: Jul 23, 2019, 8:09 AM; last updated: Jul 23, 2019, 8:09 AM (IST)

BJP scouting for candidates to stage comeback in Delhi after 2 decades

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 22

While in Haryana the BJP appears to be dealing with the problem of plenty with leaders from other parties joining by droves and sitting MLAs expressing worries over safety of their seat in forthcoming Assembly polls, in Delhi with just four MLAs by its side and no anti-incumbency factor to deal with the saffron party is scouting for good candidates and issues to reverse political trends of past two decades. 

The saffron party has been out of power in the Capital since 1998. The leadership believes the next Assembly elections is an opportune time to stage an “impressive” comeback, especially after the party’s massive victory in the recent Lok Sabha poll and rise in vote shares. 

According to sources the party is planning surveys for better selection of issues and candidates to improve the vote share achieved in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and tackle rivals the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress.

Delhi elections are a prestige issue for the BJP and it seems the leadership has also assured councillors seeking Assembly tickets that their claim will be considered. Earlier it was being said that councillors may not be considered for Assembly elections. Also, having “learnt the lesson” rather the hard way last time, the BJP is expected to stick to the tested formula of going without a Chief Ministerial face and declaring the list of candidates “just in time”. Projecting Kiran Bedi as the Chief Minister face backfired badly last time.

Though state president Manoj Tiwari is leading the charge to ensure the ongoing membership drive is a success and his party’s “vanvas” in the Capital state ends. It is unlikely he would be named as the BJP’s Chief Minister candidate for forthcoming polls. Otherwise though obserevors believe if the Lok Sabha results are an indicator (when the BJP won all the seven seats and its vote share increased to 55 per cent) it stands a “good chance”.

Besides, unlike neighbouring Haryana where sitting BJP legislators are apprehensive over being replaced by “new faces” to beat the anti-incumbency factor, in Delhi it has no such worry. With just four sitting MLAs by its side, the BJP has the advantaging of starting on a clean and fresh slate in state. In Haryana there is a possibility that some of the sitting MLAs could face the axe to overcome the anti-incumbency as has been the prevalent practice in the party ever since the BJP swept to power in the Centre in 2014 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah.

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