File image of a BJP supporter at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
File image of a BJP supporter at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan | Photo: Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) brass is weighing the option of fielding its Delhi MPs in the upcoming assembly polls to unseat the AAP, which won 67 of the union territory’s 70 seats in 2015.

The BJP won all seven of Delhi’s Lok Sabha seats in last year’s election, five of them with record-setting margins. The party, which secured all of three seats in the 2015 elections, hopes to capitalise on this performance to make an impact in the assembly polls. 

The suggestion to field MPs was made at a marathon meeting Sunday, chaired by party president Amit Shah, to discuss candidates for the Delhi elections. Those in attendance included the BJP’s Delhi election in-charge Prakash Javadekar and co-in-charges Hardeep Singh Puri and Nityanand Rai. A decision is yet to be taken on the suggestion.

Supporters of the idea said it would help create a positive impact in 3-4 seats other than those contested. 

“We have to give our best shot and, if the MPs are fielded, they will have an influence on other assembly constituencies within their parliamentary constituencies,” said a senior BJP leader. “They have won their seats by such a huge margin and this may help us increase our tally.”

According to a second source, the names discussed at the meeting included Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, a Lok Sabha member from Northeast Delhi, and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Goel. 

“The idea that emerged was that… almost all the Delhi MPs should be fielded. If only one is fielded, it will give an indication that the MP is the CM candidate,” the BJP leader said. 

When asked about the suggestion, a Delhi MP confirmed the development but said no decision has been made so far. 


Also Read: A toned-down Kejriwal or aggressive Modi-Shah: who has wider appeal in Delhi elections?


Civic leaders may be fielded too

Some MPs, one of the two aforementioned sources said, have also been asked to list preferences for the seats they would want to contest in case the suggestion is finalised. 

“The only problem that emerged is the fact that, in case these MPs end up losing their seats, it would become embarrassing… A final decision is yet to be taken in this regard,” the source added. 

Another suggestion mooted at the meeting was fielding some of the sitting municipal councillors, said the leader. 

The 8 February elections are crucial for the BJP in the face of a series of electoral setbacks — the party has lost five state elections within a span of one year. 

The BJP has been out of power in the national capital since 1998. Its hopes this poll season hinge on the central government’s decision to regularise thousands of unauthorised colonies, a move the AAP has also taken credit for. 

The AAP’s list of candidates, released Tuesday, have a few candidates fielded during the Lok Sabha elections, including Atishi, Raghav Chadha and Dilip Pandey. The Congress has yet to release its list.


Also Read: AAP candidate list for Delhi elections is out — 23 new faces, 8 women, 6 Congress defectors


 

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