As the new government comes into being with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal taking oath as the chief minister on Sunday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that bagged eight seats in the 70-member Delhi legislative assembly is preparing to appoint a leader of the opposition.
BJP MLA-elects Vijender Gupta, Mohan Singh Bisht, and Ramvir Singh Bidhuri are front runners for the post, party insiders say.
According to BJP functionaries, Gupta, an MLA-elect from Rohini, who was the leader of opposition in the previous term of the Delhi Assembly, is being considered as the most suitable candidate for the post. Party leaders are also mulling over the names of Karawal Nagar MLA-elect Bisht and Badarpur’s Ramvir Singh Bidhuri.
“The party leadership will decide the name of one MLA to lead the BJP legislators in the House. Meetings in this connection are being held and the names of Vijender Gupta, Mohan Singh Bisht, and Ramvir Singh Bidhuri are being considered. Though three names are being considered, Bisht and Gupta are the more serious contenders,” a senior BJP leader, who did not wish to be named, said.
Experience-wise, Bisht, who has represented the BJP in the House five times, is the senior-most among the eight newly elected BJP legislators. He had joined the BJP in 1976 (it was then Bharatiya Jana Sangh). He lost to AAP’s Kapil Mishra in 2015. Bisht is a prominent Garhwali face in Delhi politics.
Gupta, a former Delhi BJP president, is well-versed with the system and issues to be taken up in the House.
He was the leader of the opposition in the sixth legislative assembly and had taken up issues such as the lack of buses, pollution and the upkeep of government schools and mohalla clinics, among others.
Bidhuri, a four-time MLA, is also an experienced leader with a long political carrier spanning five decades. He was selected as the best MLA in 2003-04. Bidhuri won the Badarpur seat defeating AAP’s Ram Singh Netaji. He had lost to the AAP’s ND Sharma in 2015. In 1993, Bidhuri had won the seat for the first time on a Janta Dal ticket.
Once the BJP decides a name for the post of the leader of opposition in the House, the Assembly secretariat will issue a notification appointing him. The leader of opposition enjoys the rank of a cabinet minister.