Party president Amit Shah, who is personally supervising the preparations, has sought a detailed report in the slip-up.
The Delhi municipal elections are more than two weeks away, but the Bharatiya Janata Party has already lost six seats.
Amid suspicions of internal sabotage, an embarrassed central leadership has sought a detailed report into the circumstances that led to the rejection of nominations of half-a-dozen BJP candidates for the civic polls. Sources said there was a “deliberate” delay of nearly six hours in releasing the list of candidates on the last day of nominations that led to the setback.
The BJP has dominated the city civic bodies for years and had announced that it will repeat no councillor for this edition of the polls, fielding only new faces.
Party president Amit Shah, who is personally supervising the preparations, has sought a detailed report in the slip-up. BJP sources said responsibility will be fixed on the state leadership as the party will now only contest 266 seats out of the total 272.
On Monday, the BJP’s line-up of candidates was finalised by Shah around 10.30 am but the list was declared over five hours later. “It is an embarrassing situation for the BJP. The state leadership has been asked to explain the delay in announcement of the list even as it had got the nod of Shah. The report will be submitted to the party president,” said a national BJP office-bearer.
On Thursday night, BJP general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal held a meeting with senior party leaders and sought to know the reasons behind the blunder.
Union minister Vijay Goel, Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari, senior Delhi BJP leader Vijender Gupta and Delhi BJP general secretaries were present in the meeting. “Delhi BJP leaders were asked to explain rejection of the nominations.
The party has taken a strong note as it has deployed a team of 80 lawyers and over two dozen chartered accountants to oversee nominations,” the BJP insider said.
Explaining the delay in announcement of the list, a Delhi BJP leader said the final line-up of 106 candidates was decided by party president Amit Shah at the BJP’s Ashoka Road head-quarters around 10.30 am.
However, around 3.30 pm, an incomplete list of candidates was released. Sources said there are allegations that a number of names in the list were changed in this period. “What was the Delhi BJP leadership doing during the filing of nominations? Whose responsibility is this?” a party leader quoted Ram Lal saying in the meeting.
Another meeting of Delhi BJP observers was scheduled for Friday night. While the state election commission rejected the nominations on technical grounds, mainly due to incomplete documentation, Tiwari said the exact reasons can be ascertained only after a thorough inquiry. “The party has taken a serious view of the lapses. An inquiry will be conducted to find out what went wrong,” he said.
Of the six rejected nominations, three were from East Delhi corporation.