New Delhi, March 14 IANS | 7 months ago

The Bharatiya Janata Party's much awaited list of Delhi candidates for the Lok Sabha elections is expected Saturday, party sources said.

The list was to be declared Thursday. However, party leaders faced difficulty in arriving at a consensus over the many names that have come up for the seven Delhi seats, resulting in the delay, the sources said.

These seats are considered "prestigious" by virtue of being in the national capital, and many want candidature from Delhi, according to sources.

They added that some Delhi BJP leaders are unhappy with the idea of letting "outsiders" fight on party tickets from Delhi.

Names of Meenakshi Lekhi, Subramanian Swamy and Nirmala Sitharaman are being considered for New Delhi seat. Veteran journalist M.J. Akbar is said to be likely candidate from Northeast Delhi while a former Delhi Development Authority vice chairman is also among the contenders for the New Delhi seat.

Former diplomat Hardeep Puri, who retired as India's Permanent Representative at the UN and joined the BJP, could be fielded from West Delhi, while South Delhi Municipal Corporation mayor Sarita Chaudhary and local leader Ramesh Biduri are leading contenders for the South Delhi seat, where the BJP believes it is strong.

Dalit leader Udit Raj is likely to be nominated from the reserved Northwest (SC) and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's disciple Maheish Giri from East Delhi.

There were more than 20 names in contention for the seven seats in Delhi.

A Delhi BJP leader said the delay in finalising the party candidates is affecting the campaign, and feared being left behind rivals from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress.

"The campaigning must have started by now. After our performance in assembly polls, the morale of the party workers is high. However, the delay in announcing the names may have some adverse effects," a BJP leader said, on condition of anonymity.

"When people from outside are given tickets, what will happen to local leaders who have been nurturing the party?" he asked.

The BJP at present does not hold even one of the seven Lok Sabha seats from Delhi, which was swept by the Congress in the 2009 parliamentary elections.

(Posted on 14-03-2014)

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