Delhi civic polls: BJP drops sitting councillors to avoid possible graft charges

The BJP has 153 councillors in the three civic bodies. (Representative image) Photograph:( AFP )

PTI Delhi, India Mar 14, 2017, 11.33 AM (IST)

In a bid to "infuse fresh blood" into the upcoming municipal polls, scheduled to be held on April 22, the Delhi BJP has decided to drop all its sitting councillors from the list of candidates.

The announcement was made by the party's Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari in a press conference here today.

"We have unanimously decided to field fresh faces in the municipal elections. Even family members of the councillors and party leaders will not be given tickets," he said.

The move is seen as a gamble by the BJP, which has been in power at the civic bodies since 2007, to pre-empt the AAP and Congress from cornering it over charges of corruption against the sitting councillors.

Tiwari said the decision was a step towards realising Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of a "new India" driven by the power of the youth.

BJP's Delhi MPs Harsh Vardhan, Maheish Girri, Parvesh Verma and Udit Raj were present at the press conference, ostensibly in a move to project the party's unity over the decision.

When asked, Tiwari brushed aside speculations that the step may result in infighting and the standing councillors rebelling against the party.

"In BJP, people do not work for posts. Everyone will work together and people will also accept it," he said.

The Bhojpuri actor-turned-politician also attacked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying the verdicts at Punjab and Goa have "shown AAP the mirror and it will face a similar situation in Delhi."

The BJP has 153 councillors in the three civic bodies, namely North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC). These bodies constitute 272 seats, with NDMC and SDMC accounting for 104 seats each, while 64 seats fall under EDMC.