NEW DELHI: Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday batted for state BJP chief in Delhi Manoj Tiwari as the chief ministerial candidate of the party in the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections scheduled early next year.
"We are going to contest the Assembly elections under the leadership of Manoj Tiwari Ji and we will rest only after making him the Chief Minister," news agency ANI quoted Puri as saying as he addressed a public meeting in the national capital.
The Union Minister's announcement drew in responses from several Aam Aadmi Party leaders, which is in power in Delhi currently. They "welcomed" the BJP's decision in choosing Manoj Tiwari as their CM pick.
Among the AAP leaders were Delhi Deputy Chief Minister congratulated Manoj Tiwari on being made the Chief Ministerial candidate in Delhi.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson Raghav Chadha also said in Hindi, "The Bharatiya Janata Party announced the Chief Ministerial candidate. We welcome it. Many congratulations to Manoj Tiwari being made the BJP's chief ministerial candidate."
"Now in Delhi the upcoming election will be 'Arvind Kejriwal vs Manoj Tiwari'," Chadha added.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh went a limb ahead and even that now with Tiwari as an opponent, "Kejriwal will even break the record of 2015".
Puri, however, later clarified he only meant that the BJP will win the Delhi elections under Tiwari`s leadership.
Taking to microblogging site Twitter, Puri said, "The BJP is headed for victory in Delhi. The party has so far not nominated anyone for the post of Chief Minister. Manoj Tiwari is the president of the Delhi BJP. The party is working vigorously under his leadership. My statement meant that the BJP would win the upcoming elections under his leadership with a huge vote," he tweeted.
The BJP had betted high on Dr Harsh Vardhan during the 2013 assembly elections, whereas former IPS officer Kiran Bedi was its pick for Chief Minister's post in 2015. In both elections, the party tasted defeat from the AAP, especially a crushing one in 2015 by bagging just three seats in the 70-member assembly.