However, Gupta played down the absence of senior
leaders and pledged to take everybody on board to strengthen
the party which has experienced a series of electoral
"I believe in collective leadership and everybody will
be taken on board in strengthening the party," he told a press
Another senior party leader Nand Kishore Garg too was
conspicuous by his absence at the function to felicitate
45-year-old Gupta, councillor from Rohini, on becoming the new
party chief replacing O P Kohli.
Goel, Mukhi and Garg were among many others in the
race for the party chief's post in the city unit of BJP.
"You do not find 100 per cent attendance in any class
in any school or college, it happens," he said when asked
about the absence of his party colleagues. "The national
leadership has already made it clear his preference for youth
The Delhi Unit of BJP has been grappling with
dissidence and infighting for last two years and many party
leaders had even openly blamed their colleagues for heavy
electoral defeats and party's dismal performance in the polls.
Before the last Lok Sabha polls, supporters of Pervesh
Verma, son of former Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma, had
even staged a sit-in outside L K Advani's residence for
denying ticket to their leader.
Gupta's name for party chief's post in Delhi was
agreed to after a series of meetings among party leaders
including L K Advani, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley, Ananth
Kumar, Ram Lal and Thavarchand Gehlot.
A three-time councillor from Rohini, Gupta had
unsuccessfully contested against HRD Minister Kapil Sibal from
Chandni Chowk constituency in 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
In his maiden press conference after becoming the
Delhi unit chief, Gupta also took the opportunity to take a
pot shot at Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit alleging that her
dispensation has forgotten the basic responsibility of a
government which is to serve the common people.
"My first message to the chief minister is to fulfil
the basic responsibility of the government. Her administration
has become very arrogant. We will not tolerate this," he said.
Identifying price rise as main issue, he accused the
government of piling up the common man's woes.
He also accused the Delhi government of politicising
the issue of extending financial grant to BJP-ruled MCD.
"The Chief Minister always plays politics in
allocating financial assistance to it. The responsibility of
ensuring proper functioning of MCD also lies with the city as
well as Central government," he said replying to a question on
poor performance of BJP-ruled MCD.
On why the function to felicitate him was organised on
a day when one of the top party's top leaders Bhairon Singh
Shekhawat passed away, Gupta avoided any answer but Kohli said
it could not be postponed due to "practical problems."
Kohli had earlier requested partymen not to beat drums
and offer garland to Gupta as a mark of respect to Shekhawat.
New Delhi: The change of guard in the
Delhi unit of BJP with the appointment of Vijendra Gupta on Saturday
saw infighting come back to the fore with senior party leaders
like Vijay Goel and Jagdish Mukhi staying away from a function
to felicitate him.
First Published: Saturday, May 15, 2010, 20:23