The BJP has announced 58-year-old ENT surgeon Dr Harshvardhan (who only uses his first name) as its chief ministerial candidate for Delhi ahead of the state assembly elections on December 4.
Party president Rajnath Singh’s announcement on Wednesday comes two days after Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel held a press conference to ‘clarify’ media reports that there was no infighting within the party and that he was not pitching himself as the party’s CM candidate.
“We (Dr Harshvardhan and I) will fight together and defeat the Congress in the election,” said a disgruntled Goel after the announcement. “Party president Rajnath Singh has asked all party workers in Delhi to work together to ensure party victory and as a disciplined soldier of the party, I will abide by it.”
Goel, in a brave attempt to hide his dismay, added: “In politics, anything can happen. During the last Assembly elections, Dr Harshvardhan was the party president and Vijay Kumar Malhotra was our CM candidate. This time, I am the party president and Dr Harshvardhan is our CM candidate.”
Dr Harshvardhan, who not only has the support of senior BJP leaders such as LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari, also enjoys the RSS’ confidence. The four-time MLA will take on three-time CM Sheila Dixit of the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal.
MEET BJP’S DELHI CM CANDIDATE
Name: Dr Harshvardhan
Profession: ENT surgeon; runs a private practice in east Delhi
Political career: Started his political career by contesting the first Assembly election in Delhi in 1993 and won from the Krishna Nagar constituency. Served as the Delhi health minister from 1993-1998. It was during this period that he implemented large-scale pulse polio immunisation camps across the state, which later became the norm across the country. His efforts have been globally recognised and won him several honors, including from the UN.
Dr Harshvardhan is known for being a good organiser and bringing everyone together to get things done. He has served as BJP’s vice-president for five years and as the party’s Delhi unit president, including in 2008 during the last Delhi Assembly elections.
WHAT THEY SAID
“This was a unanimous decision of the Central Parliamentary Board.”
- Rajnath Singh, BJP president
“This was a timely decision. We are confident of a victory by 2/3rd majority.”
- Nitin Gadkari, Senior BJP leader and in-charge of Delhi Assembly election