Sehwag declined BJP’s offer to contest polls citing personal reasons, say party sources

One former India cricketer has, according to insiders, declined to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket but another is being “seriously” considered being fielded from the symbolically significant New Delhi Parliamentary constituency.

According to party sources, the party had reached out to Virender Sehwag with a ticket from the West Delhi constituency which he, however, declined, citing “personal reasons.” On the other hand, the party is considering the candidature of Gautam Gambhir from New Delhi.

“Mr. Sehwag said he would rather that his sister, who is active in the political scenario on the councillor level from the area under the West Delhi Parliamentary constituency, represent the family there,” said a party source.

“We are in the process of assessing the candidature of Mr. Gambhir, who met with Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) in the Defence Colony area as recently as earlier this week, who could be fielded from New Delhi,” said another party source.

Meanwhile, even as party insiders claimed the process of deciding on tickets for the seven Parliamentary seats had “somewhat slowed down” given the fact that the capital would go to the polls in the sixth phase to be conducted in mid-May, the Delhi unit of the BJP had suggested two alternative candidates to be fielded from each of these as per instructions from the party high command.

While the candidature of sitting MP Pravesh Verma had been “more or less decided upon” after Mr. Sehwag’s decision and the party was also confident of sitting South Delhi MP Ramesh Bidhuri’s candidature, sources claimed Monika Arora was one of the “alternatives” from New Delhi apart from Mr. Gambhir.

Similarly, former Delhi Mayor Anita Arya was being considered from the North West Delhi seat; from North East Delhi, which is Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari’s home turf, former MLA Mohan Singh Bisht and former Mayor Satya Sharma had been suggested as alternative candidates.

With the party having “more or less” decided upon fielding Union Minister Harsh Vardhan from the East Delhi seat, leaders being considered to take his place at the Chandni Chowk constituency consisted of Union Minister Vijay Goel, Sudhanshu Mittal and Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly and Rohini MLA Vijender Gupta.

“We expect the declaration of candidates by early April,” a party leader said.


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