NEW DELHI: With the BJP announcing that no sitting member would be fielded again for the municipal elections, it was clear that certain prominent names will be absent from its candidates list. But who all will figure on it remained a suspense almost until the last minute.
It now turns out that the party has given tickets mostly to the functionaries of the state unit. While the sitting members have been avoided completely, some of their relatives have been accommodated, along with a few who had unsuccessfully contested the assembly elections.
In a bid to keep the suspense on the names, Delhi BJP released its list of candidates only a few hours before the time for filing nomination was to end. The first list came out on Sunday, followed by three more in the afternoon on Monday, which was the last day for filing nomination.
“It was done deliberately. The idea was to stop disgruntled elements from filing nomination as independent candidates. This was the reason the lists came out on the last day,” confided a party insider.
Although the party had announced that office-bearers would not be given tickets, many district presidents have been fielded. They include Santosh Pal from Shahdara, Vinay Rawat from Outer Delhi, Parvesh Sharma from Naveen Shahdara and Rajkumar Ballan, in-charge of Mayur Vihar.
Similarly, Jai Prakash, vice-president from Sadar Bazar, Priti Agrawal, secretary from Rohini, Punam Parasher Jha, wife of former MLA Anil Jha and Poorvanchal Morcha president Vipin Bihari have been given tickets. Another candidate, Rubina, is the daughter of councillor Hoor Bano Ismail. Similarly, Kamlesh Devi is the sister-in-law of Bir Singh, a sitting BJP councillor.
Sources said that former councillor Nirmal Jain was given a ticket at the last moment as he was preparing to file nomination as an independent candidate. Another candidate, Rekha Dikshit, is the wife of Shravan Dikshit, associated with the Shahadra district. Bhajanpura candidate Gurjeet Kaur is the wife of Kulwant Singh Baath, who is the Delhi BJP vice-president.
The BJP list also includes the names of Meenakshi Beniwal and Vina Virmani. While Meenakshi is the wife of block president Revinder Beniwal, the latter’s husband Gulshan Virmani is the officer on special duty to union minister Harsh Vardhan.
The Sunday Standard spoke to many leaders, who said discontent is on the rise. There was a scuffle in the Karol Bagh area among two groups of party workers on Wednesday night and sources said senior leaders had to intervene to pacify them.
Many ticket aspirants, such as Punam Sharma, Punam Kalia and Ajay Kumar, staged a protest in an east Delhi area on Friday, accusing the party of favouritism. They also alleged that local MP Maheish Girri helped many aspirants to get tickets while they were sidelined. “Babita Chopra from Preet Vihar, Aparna Goyal from I P Extn, Gunjan Gupta from Anand Vihar are some examples and we have come to know that they got the ticket as they were followers of Ravi Shankar ji,” said Kalia.
Another sitting councillor said the party has even given tickets to those who have crossed 60 years of age. Colonel BK Oberoi (retd), Tilak Raj Kataria, Jogi Ram Jain and Vina come under this category.
State unit chief Manoj Tiwari, however, justified the selection process which, according to him, was done in a transparent and democratic manner after proper consultations with party MPs, MLAs, councillors, and officers.