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Dejected BJP concedes defeat in Delhi

December 08, 2008 10:33 IST
Last Updated: December 08, 2008 14:52 IST

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The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday conceded defeat in the Delhi [Images] assembly elections and said that the electorate had given a 'clear vote in favour of the Congress'.

"It is a clear victory for the Congress in Delhi," Arun Jaitley, BJP General Secretary, who is in-charge of party affairs in the capital, told media persons in New Delhi.

Jaitley said he accepted moral responsibility for the party's defeat in Delhi.

There were many issues, which caused the party's debacle and those would be deliberated upon at the Parliamentary Board meeting, he said.

The BJP admitted that projecting a younger chief ministerial candidate could have helped it win the polls.

"A younger chief ministerial candidate, perhaps, could have helped. Arun Jaitley could have been a better candidate," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told media persons.

He sought to downplay his comment by adding, "This is a personal comment for a personal friend. Arun Jaitley is a dear friend."

BJP had projected Vijay Kumar Malhotra, 78, as its chief ministerial candidate.

Malhotra was chosen over Vijay Goel and Harshvardhan, both much younger to him, for the post by the saffron party with the hope that a senior candidate would be more acceptable to the rebel group within the party.

Leaders of the saffron party in the national capital also admit that it was a golden opportunity lost for the BJP in Delhi.

"It was a golden opportunity lost and a major setback," party general secretary Vijay Goel said.

Goel, who was a prime contender for the BJP's chief ministerial candidate, said: "We need to work a lot in the slum clusters and the unauthorised colonies to make up for the damage."

Goel lost the race to the party's Lok Sabha deputy leader Vijay Kumar Malhotra, weeks before the elections, and was also reported to be unsatisfied with the ticket distribution.

"It seems the party's poll campaign mehengi pari Congress (Cannot afford Congress) has turned into Mehenge pare Malhotra (Cannot afford Malhotra)," said one of the state leaders, in a blunt criticism of the party's decision to bring in Malhotra to the state politics.

"It is time for analysis. Factors like candidate selection have resulted in a lot of damage," former President Venkaiah Naidu told media persons.

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