An internal fight within the Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the chief ministerial candidacy came out in to the open on Thursday with supporters of Delhi BJP President Vijay Goel protesting at Party National Headquarters in Delhi demanding his candidature for the post of chief minister in the Capital.
However, former BJP president and the party's election in-charge in Delhi Nitin Gadkari in a previous statement had said that the decision would only be taken by the Parliamentary Board which is slated to be convened after the arrival of the leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley.
Hundreds of Goel supporters, including some district presidents of party, gathered at the BJP Headquarters in Delhi and demanded that Goel be announced as the party’s candidate for the post of chief minister. However, after a meeting of the supporters with Gadkari at his residence, they were categorically told that any decision over this issue would be taken only by the Parliamentary Board of the party and insisted the party workers to remain united and work towards dislodging the Sheila Dikshit led Congress government in the coming General Elections, a BJP insider said.
According to sources close to Goel, after Gadkari's statement on Wednesday, he (Goel) came out openly and pitched his candidature and stuck to his stand. "Goel has conveyed to the party's central leadership that declaring any other leader as chief ministerial candidate at this juncture would derail BJP's preparation for upcoming assembly polls, which is in their favour following the grand rallies of Narendra Modi across the country," said the source.
Meanwhile, several Delhi BJP leaders including V K Malhotra, Arti Mehra, Harsh Vardhan and Vijender Gupta also met Gadkari and lodged their protest over the manner in which the state unit president had came out in public to press his demand. A party leader said that these leaders feel that such protests by a state unit president would hamper the Party’s interest before polls.
"Gadkari was informed that no one within the party was happy over these developments which took place in the past couple of days. They also urged the Central leaders to take notice of the gross indiscipline by the state president," he added.
It is noteworthy that despite Gadkari's statement that parliamentary board would take a final call on chief ministerial candidate, Goel has been projecting himself as the most acceptable leader for the post and that his popularity has been reflected in various opinion polls.