The BJP Central Election Committee meeting is over. Sources told Firstpost that BJP will release its list of candidates for 7 February Delhi polls soon.
Sources also added that Kiran Bedi has been appointed as the chief minister nominee from Delhi. According to Firstpost reporter Tarique Anwar, BJP president Amit Shah will hold a press conference shortly and make the big announcement.
According to Tarique Anwar, Amit Shah, J P Nadda and Ramlal are waiting for Kiran Bedi, who has left from her residence in Rohini 15 minutes ago. Names of candidates will be announced in the press conference once she reaches party headquarters at Ashoka Road.
Kiran Bedi had asked the party leadership to field her from this constituency as she did not want a direct fight with Kejriwal. The list of candidates is likely to be released soon.
Sources also added that the party leadership has decided to pit former AAP member Shazia Ilmi against Arvind Kejriwal from New Delhi. However, in a tweet Shazia Ilmi announced that she has opted out of Delhi polls.
Aajtak flash is incorrect. I have opted out of the elections and have expressed the same to party leadership.
— shazia ilmi (@shaziailmi) January 19, 2015
Vinod Kumar Binny, another former AAP member, will contest against Manish Sisodia from Patparganj, sources added.
The former IPS officer Kiran Bedi will contest against AAP's Somnath Bharti. Another BJP member Ashish Sood will contest from Janakpuri.
Sources further told Firstpost that BSP defector Brahma Singh will be contesting from Okhla and the latest entrant to the Delhi BJP, former Congress leader Krishna Tirath will be fielded from Patel Nagar.
Despite Bedi having joined the party on 16 January, the former IPS official is likely to be made the head of the party's campaign committee.
However, no decision has been yet taken on the party's chief ministerial candidate, according to sources.
While there has been some unrest in the BJP about Bedi's inclusion in the party at the highest level directly, the party's leaders have been saying that they won't be declaring its chief ministerial candidate just yet.
Senior Delhi BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi, once seen as a potential chief ministerial candidate, said that it wouldn't be the first time that the party would have fought the elections without a face as its potential CM.
"The central leadership will decide who CM will be in Delhi," Mukhi said.
However an Indian Express report this weekend noted that Bedi had been told that she would be made CM in the event of a BJP victory in Delhi, by none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during an interaction between the two.
Mukhi was quoted as saying in a report earlier that the state unit of the party hadn't been consulted before Bedi was taken into the party.
BJP MP Manoj Tiwari got himself into a tangle over the party's chief ministerial candidate and backtracked after saying that the former IPS official had only joined the party and hadn't been declared the party's chief ministerial candidate.
"All I said was that Kiran Bedi hasn't been projected as the party's chief ministerial candidate," he said.
We will work with whoever the senior leadership decides as the CM designate, the actor-turned-politician said.
The statements from leaders like Mukhi and Tiwari come even as reports state that the party's activists and senior leadership may not be too pleased by Bedi's sudden elevation.
A report had indicated that a tea party to which the former IPS official had 'summoned' BJP MPs hadn't gone down too well given she doesn't hold a formal position in the party just yet. However, it didn't stop most of them from showing up.
Leaders have chosen to complain about Bedi so far anonymously in order to prevent any action being taken against them.
"She is rude and arrogant. Her dictatorial tendencies may have an adverse impact on the party’s prospect. It will be difficult for workers to work with her. Since we work under the umbrella of the BJP, we will follow instructions of our leader as obedient foot soldiers", one party leader had told Firstpost.
The RSS also reportedly wasn't initially too pleased about the rumours of Bedi being picked as a chief ministerial candidate.
However, there is little doubt that despite some misgivings, the party will go ahead with making the former IPS official the face of the campaign. Despite leaders like Vijay Goel being not to pleased about the selection of Harsh Vardhan as the party's chief ministerial candidate in 2013, the party had chosen to ignore him and press ahead with him as the face of its campaign.
The inclusion of new faces, many of them associated with the AAP and the Anna Hazare movement from which it was born, as Firstpost senior editor Akshaya Mishra pointed out points to a bankruptcy of ideas in the BJP. The party may go in for massive changes if it manages to pull off a victory on 7 February, but if it falls short again the party's activists could quickly turn on its latest entrants.
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Updated Date: Jan 19, 2015 23:12:04 IST