NEW DELHI: No sooner had the Delhi unit of the BJP declared the final list of candidates for MCD polls last Monday that protests broke out outside the party office on Pandit Pant Marg. Protestors included members of Delhi BJP’s Mahila Morcha, who claimed loyal workers had been ignored in favour of female relatives of sitting councillors. Things came to such a pass that effigies of state BJP president Vijender Gupta were burned outside his office last week, forcing Gupta to hire bodyguards, call the police to disburse angry workers, and request the NDMC to dismantle the ‘illegal’ stage workers had set up outside for their protest.
Sitting BJP councillor from Lajpat Nagar, Veena Abrol said, “I don’t have any grouse against the party, but vehemently oppose those elements who’ve sold tickets for tens of lakhs in the run up to MCD polls. In 2007, I was given the ticket for Lajpat Nagar, which I snatched from the Congress, winners here for the past 25 years. Nevertheless, I was denied this time.” Former MLA Sushil Chaudhary’s daughter Vandana Bhagat was given the ticket instead.
Among relatives who bagged seats, are Shobha Vijender, wife of Gupta, from Rohini. Shobha is a professional social activist and runs an NGO named Sampoorna. But the saga doesn’t end here. Gupta’s secretary, Rajeshwar Nagpal’s wife Mamta Nagpal, got a ticket from Pitampura. His former secretary V P Pandey was also nominated from Rohini North.
In Jehangirpuri, Ramesh Mohan Chauhan, who has been contesting since 1997, ensured a ticket for wife Satyawati Chauhan after the ward was reserved for women, same as in Nithari, where councillor Rohtas Singh ensured wife Nirmala Rohta’s nomination. In Uttam Nagar, J P Sharma got a ticket for daughter-in-law Shivali Sharma. In Chirag Delhi, it was Sunita Gullia, wife of councillor Rakesh Gullia, and in Ashok Vihar, Poonam Bharadwaj, daughter-in-law of Suresh Bharadwaj, bagged the ticket.
The Congress fares no better. Dayanand Chandelia, MLA from Rajouri Garden, got daughter Meenaxi Chandelia nominated from Khyala and son Meghraj from Vishnu Garden, while Mahmood Zia, Congressman from Old Delhi, ensured a ticket for sister Seema Tahira from Bazaar Sitaram.
Having a famous name as a brother can go a long way in getting a ticket, as was evident when cricketer Virender Sehwag’s sister Anju Meherwal got a Congress ticket from Modinagar.
Clearing the air on protests by party members, Aarti Mehra of BJP said, “BJP is a big party. 7,500 biodatas were submitted to us, and we had to choose 272 from them. It’s understood some people were left dissatisfied. We first shortlisted 12-15 names for each ward, then selected the top three. And still, we ended up disappointing two of them. This doesn’t mean those not selected were poor candidates.”