BJP fields Gambhir from East Delhi, retains Lekhi
New Delhi: With the window for filing nominations in Delhi closing on Tuesday (April 23), the BJP announced late on Monday night that cricketer Gautam Gambhir will contest the Lok Sabha polls from East Delhi, thus confirming long-circulating rumours and taking away any hope left for sitting MP Maheish Girri to contest the 2019 polls on a ticket from his party.
The party also announced to no-one's surprise that it will retain New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi and that she will be contesting from her current constituency.
While there had been rumours that state party leaders in Delhi were apprehensive of BJP inducting Gambhir just before the polls, the saffron party seems to have decided to give the freshman a chance to try out his hand at legislation.
It remains to be seen how the ace cricketer decides to campaign and how he might fare in the lower house. Gambhir will be fighting against Arvinder Singh Lovely of Congress and Atishi of AAP.
AAP got a headstart in the polls by announcing candidates and starting campaigning months ago, but the party most likely ripped through its campaign funds early on.
Moreover, BJP's decision to repeat Lekhi from New Delhi seems to be well-placed given her record as a parliamentarian. She has participated in more than a hundred debates and been very active. Another noteworthy point is the fact that Lekhi is tried and tested in the Delhi battlegrounds.
In 2014, Lekhi had received over 4.5 lakh votes, beating her closest opponent, Ashish Khetan of AAP by a margin of more than 1.5 lakh.
And there seems to be no threat to her victory from Congress either as she managed to defeat Ajay Maken in the last election by almost 3 lakh votes.
This time around Lekhi will go up against Congress' Maken and AAP's Brajesh Goyal.