Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday announced that the BJP will contest the upcoming Assembly elections in Delhi under the leadership of its state unit chief Manoj Tiwari, adding he will not rest until the actor-turned-politician becomes the Chief Minister.
Puri, however, later clarified he only meant that the BJP will win the Delhi elections under Tiwari's leadership.
As the co-in-charge of Delhi BJP, Puri made the announcement while addressing the party workers here.
"We are going to fight the elections under the leadership of Manoj Tiwari. We will ensure he will become the Chief Minister," Puri said.
The party workers welcomed the announcement with "Abki Baari Manoj Tiwari" (This time it will be Manoj Tiwari) and "Jai Shri Ram" slogans.
Later, in a tweet in Hindi, Puri said what he had meant was that the BJP will win under the leadership of Tiwari and that the party has not nominated anyone for the post of Chief Minister, so far.
"The BJP is headed for victory in Delhi. The party has so far not nominated anyone for the post of Chief Minister. Manoj Tiwari is the president of the Delhi BJP. The party is working vigorously under his leadership. My statement meant that the BJP would win the upcoming elections under his leadership with a huge vote," he tweeted.
Meanwhile, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday declared that the elections in Delhi would be an Arvind Kejriwal versus Manoj Tiwari affair and congratulated the latter.
While Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia welcomed the decision and congratulated Tiwari, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said that now with Tiwari as an opponent, "Kejriwal will even break the record of 2015".
AAP Spokesperson Raghav Chadha told the media here that with Tiwari being projected as the BJP's chief ministerial face, it is now clear in the minds of people of Delhi that the upcoming election is essentially a contest between "Arvind Kejriwal vs Manoj Tiwari."
"Puri today made a major announcement that the Tiwari will be the chief ministerial candidate of BJP in the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections. The Aam Aadmi Party wholeheartedly congratulates Tiwari on being declared the Bhartiya Janata Party's CM candidate.
"We welcome the move of the BJP to announce their CM candidate well before the elections. The practice of declaring CM candidates by contesting parties allows the voters to make an informed decision and accordingly decide their choice of voting," Chadha said.
He said the announcement will help the people envisage and visualise the kind of leadership they want in their city.
"The Arvind Kejriwal versus Manoj Tiwari contest will help the people chose between two different models of governance. Tiwari's model of governance is clear from the fact that despite being a lawmaker he vehemently opposed important schemes like Odd-Even which helped curb the pollution in Delhi and was staunchly against free metro rides for women.
"He has also been most critical of Delhi's low electricity rates and has repeatedly expressed his desire to increase the electricity charges in the city if BJP were to form the government."
Chadha added that the AAP is confident that the people of Delhi will make note of this major announcement and make an informed decision.
The tenure of the Kejriwal government will end in February 2020.