Uniting faction-ridden BJP biggest challenge before Vardhan

nown for his clean image, Harsh Vardhan will face a stiff challenge of uniting the faction-ridden BJP as his nomination to the post comes after a bitter internal squabble that had threatened to derail the party`s campaign to wrest power after 15 years in the capital.

New Delhi: Known for his clean image, Harsh Vardhan will face a stiff challenge of uniting the faction-ridden BJP as his nomination to the post comes after a bitter internal squabble that had threatened to derail the party`s campaign to wrest power after 15 years in the capital.

An RSS member since his childhood, Vardhan, who was Health Minister between 1993-98 in BJP government in Delhi, is known for his simplicity and the party`s top brass believes he is capable of turning around its fortune in the December 4 polls after three successive defeats.

59-year-old Vardhan is known to share a very cordial relationship with RSS and people close to him say he still retains the Swayamsevak`s tendency to downplay the "Swayam" (self) giving precedence to "Seva" (service).

Vardhan, a practicing ENT surgeon, had entered the political fray in 1993 when he successfully contested the Assembly polls from Krishna Nagar constituency in East Delhi in 1993. He went on to retain the seat in the 1998, 2003 and 2008 assembly elections.

Fondly called "Doctor Saab" by supporters and opponents alike, Vardhan is known for his efforts in eradicating polio in Delhi when he was the Health Minister.

Senior Delhi BJP leaders said his anointment to the top post will help the party give a tough fight to both Aam Admi Party and Congress.

During his Ministership in the Delhi government (1993-98), people had found him remarkably accessible and officials respected him for his hands-on style of functioning.

"He joined politics with the laudable objective of using his considerable medical knowledge and experience for serving the common man," former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said once about Vardhan.

In late 2003, he was appointed as president pf Delhi BJP. He is credited with rebuilding the party at the grassroot level after the party`s defeat in the assembly polls that year.

In April 2007, the party recaptured power in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and in 2008, the party emerged victorious in the Delhi Cantonment Board election under his leadership.

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