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Delhi BJP chief resigns four days after MCD loss

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Virendra Sachdeva [Centre] has been associated with the RSS and comes from a family which was displaced during the Partition.

Four days after the BJP was defeated in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) polls by AAP, Adesh Gupta resigned as the party’s State unit chief. BJP’s State vice-president Virendra Sachdeva has been appointed acting chief.

The party has picked a person from the Punjabi community to lead its unit in Delhi after a gap of almost 13 years, said a source. Mr. Sachdeva was picked, the source added, in light of the BJP’s poor poll performance in the Punjabi-speaking belt from Uttam Nagar to Defence Colony. “We could only win three out of nearly 40 wards where the Punjabi community has a significant presence,” the source also said. The last person from the community to lead the BJP in Delhi was Om Prakash Kohli (in 2009-10), who went on to serve as the Governor of Gujarat from 2014-19.

Under fire

Mr. Gupta had come under heavy fire from various factions of BJP after the party’s 15-year rule at the three erstwhile civic bodies (now unified) ended with AAP winning 134 of the MCD’s 250 wards.

The Delhi unit of the BJP held two meetings of its functionaries since the announcement of the results on December 7 — on the day of the results and on Saturday. Party insiders told The Hindu that various leaders had pinned the blame on Mr. Gupta and demanded a change in the party leadership.

“There was a feeling of negativity against him [Mr. Gupta] for a while, which came to the fore in the first meeting [on Wednesday],” said a senior leader present at the meeting.

He was blamed not just for the party’s overall performance in the polls but also for its rout on Mr. Gupta’s turf of Patel Nagar, where the party lost all four wards — West Patel Nagar, East Patel Nagar, Ranjeet Nagar and Baljeet Nagar.

The party had swept these wards in the 2017 municipal elections, with Mr. Gupta being elected from the West Patel Nagar ward.

He was subsequently appointed Mayor of the erstwhile North Delhi Municipal Corporation.

No time to waste

Soon after his appointment, Mr. Sachdeva said, “We have to work together to ensure that all seven Lok Sabha candidates of the party win in 2024.”

He has been associated with the RSS and belongs to a Punjabi family which settled in old Delhi after being displaced from Pakistan during the Partition.

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