New Delhi: The Delhi Assembly Elections in November may see a surprise entry in the race for the BJP’s CM nominee: Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Prasad, a BJP leader from Bihar and the deputy leader of the party in the Rajya Sabha, has emerged as a strong contender owing to the party’s poll strategy. According to sources, the party’s central leadership wants a leader from Purvanchal, an area comprising the eastern end of UP and Bihar.
This would be similar to the move made by the Congress in 1998, when Sheila Dikshit from UP was made the Chief Minister.
Till the last Delhi Assembly Elections, the BJP focused on the Punjabi community and the business class. But a large influx of migrants from eastern UP and Bihar has forced them to frame a new strategy. “The party wants a leader from Purvanchal to make inroads into the migrant vote bank,” a BJP insider said. “Voters from Bihar and eastern UP now comprise one-third of the electorate, making them a deciding
Of course, Prasad will have stiff competition from prominent leaders who are also eyeing the coveted post. Prominent names include Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel, former presidents Vijender Gupta and Dr Harsh Vardhan, and leader of opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijay Kumar Malhotra.
For the CM post, the BJP also wants a leader with a clean image and one who does not have any affiliation to party factions in the Delhi.
Several other leaders from the region, including Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Shahnawaz Hussain, were also considered. “All these leaders have a clean image and can easily connect with both the educated electorate and migrant workers as their roots are still in Purvanchal,” said a party leader.
However, according to sources, state unit leaders are unhappy that the central leadership took the crucial decision without consulting with them. “They should consult with workers before parachuting a candidate on us. If the party is really interested in a leader from Purvanchal, he should be sent here soon so he can start working on the ground,” said a Delhi BJP leader.