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Thursday 2 April 2020

Tiwari to step down as Delhi BJP head; 6 in replacement race

The party leadership had extended his tenure due to the assembly election, but after the rout, it has decided to change the entire Delhi team

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After a crushing defeat in the Delhi assembly election, the central leadership of the BJP has started searching for a new state president. Party sources say that instead of Manoj Tiwari, a new face will be given a chance.

After the BJP’s poor performance, state president Manoj Tiwari has offered to resign. However, the BJP high command has asked him to continue in the post for the time being.

The tenure of the Delhi BJP president is of three years and Tiwari has completed this period.

Tiwari was favoured until this defeat

The BJP had extended Tiwari’s tenure in view of the Delhi Assembly election, but after the disappointing performance of the party in the election, the party is exploring other options.

Under Tiwari’s leadership, the BJP had performed brilliantly in the 2017 MCD election and the 2019 Lok Sabha election, but in the assembly election under his leadership, the party suffered a humiliating defeat.

According to BJP sources, the high command has made up its mind to change the entire team of the Delhi BJP after the crushing defeat in the poll. A senior BJP leader said that there were at least 15-20 seats that the BJP could easily win but due to the decision to field external candidates, local BJP workers did not extend support in the campaign.

Tiwari had said after the crushing defeat in Delhi elections, “What I had said had a basis. We were hoping to win 48 assembly seats because the condition of the roads out there was very bad. People did not tire complaining about Arvind Kejriwal on the issue of water supply and school education. That made us believe that the BJP candidates could win in these areas.”

One of these 6 will make it

Foremost among those in the race for the post of the BJP state president is West Delhi MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma. In addition to being young, Verma has made inroads in every section within the party. Just before the assembly election, home minister and former national president Amit Shah had heaped praise on Verma, indicating the preference of the central leadership.

Vijender Gupta, former president of Delhi BJP who won the election for the second consecutive time from Rohini assembly seat, is in the fray too. However, his age and the lacklustre first term are working against him, say party sources.

The name of Delhi BJP’s old face and Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan Vijay Goel is doing the rounds as well. But Goel, like Gupta, has been the state president of Delhi BJP earlier, with not much of an achievement to show.

Party sources say that this time the high command will hand over the command of the party to a leader who is young and who is accepted by the rank and file of the organisation. Thus, along with Verma, BJP MP from South Delhi Ramesh Bidhuri and East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir stand them in good stead.

The leadership may well offer the opportunity to a woman as the next state president, a senior state BJP politician said. In that case, MP Meenakshi Lekhi could make it. The leadership is said to have liked her presentations as an MP and performance in the New Delhi parliamentary constituency.

However, there is another section in the party that doubts the ability of Gambhir and Lekhi to command the whole Delhi team. They say while Lekhi is an elite, Gambhir is too new in politics to be able to manage the wheels within wheels of the Delhi unit of the BJP.

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