Race begins among newly elected BJP MLAs for the post of Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly

New Delhi, Feb 14 (PTI) The race for the post of Leader of Opposition among BJP MLAs in the newly elected Delhi Assembly has begun even as the party is brainstorming to ascertain reasons behind its massive defeat in the polls held last week.

The top contenders for the post include Rohini MLA Vijender Gupta who was Leader of Opposition in the previous Assembly, Karawal Nagar MLA Mohan Singh Bisht and Badarpur MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, sources said.

'The MLAs have already started meeting top leaders as a decision will be shortly made about nominating one of them for the post of Leader of Opposition,' a senior Delhi BJP leader said.

The Delhi BJP on Friday also held a series of marathon meetings at the party office, reviewing reasons behind its debacle in the Assembly polls.

Experience wise Bisht, five-time MLA, is seniormost among the eight newly elected BJP legislators. Gupta, a former Delhi BJP president, too will be under serious consideration as he along with three other party MLAs led the opposition's attack on the Kejriwal government in the previous House dominated by AAP.

Bidhuri, four-time MLA, is also an experienced leader with a long political carrier spanning five decades. He was adjudged the best MLA in 2003-04.

Besides the trio, the party can also nominate a fresh face from among the remaining MLAs.

'It will totally be the party's decision that could go in favour of any of the eight MLAs. In case of freshers, first time MLAs Ajay Mahawar from Ghonda and Abhay Verma from Laxmi Nagar have good chances,' said a party source. Mahawar is district president of the North East Delhi unit that falls under Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari's Lok Sabha constituency. Verma is state vice president.

An MLA is nominated by the largest opposition party for the post of Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. Afterwards, Delhi Assembly secretariat issues a notification appointing the Leader of Opposition.

The Leader of Opposition enjoys the rank of a Cabinet minister.

In the sixth Delhi Assembly, BJP only had three MLAs and fell short of the adequate number to get the post of Leader of Opposition. As per rule, an opposition party can nominate its MLA for the post of Leader of Opposition if it has at least 10 percent of the total members in a Legislative Assembly.

However, the ruling AAP had accorded the post to the BJP.

The AAP government will come into being with the oath of Chief Minister elect Arvind Kejriwal and his Cabinet ministers on Sunday. The party smashed the BJP, winning 62 seats in the 70-member Assembly, in elections held last week.

Delhi Assembly is likely to meet next week for oaths of newly elected MLAs and choosing Speaker of the House. PTI VIT VIT RDM RDM