Published On : Sun, Jan 18th, 2015

Rift in BJP leadership over Kiran Bedi as CM face

New Delhi: The top brass of the Bharatiya Janata Party is divided over naming new entrant Kiran Bedi as the Delhi chief ministerial candidate even as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has cleared her candidature, said sources to media on Sunday. The final decision on a larger role for Bedi in Delhi polls is likely to be taken by top BJP leadership on Monday.

The party has been following the tradition of not naming the chief ministerial candidate and the same was done during Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana Assembly elections. Sources, however, said that the party might do away with the tradition in Delhi.

Sources added that those in favour of the announcement said internal surveys by the party showed that a critical percentage of voters are not voting for the party in the absence of a CM candidate and projecting Bedi would clear the dilemma of voters as she was a popular CM candidate.

On the other hand, the section of leaders opposing such a move said that an outsider cannot be given the leadership command of the party before elections, according to the sources. Leaders opposing the move added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address from Ram Lila Maidan clearly was pitched on the previous strategy of the party to fight elections by not projecting CM candidate and fighting under Modi’s name, sources said.

Sources added if Bedi isn’t named as the CM candidate then she will be named as the head of the campaign committee.

If Delhi experiment of projecting an outsider as a leader works in facour of the party then it is likely to be repeated in other states where BJP needs credible faces in the event of in-fighting within the party’s state unit, said sources.