- He threatened to say "goodbye to the party" if he is not given ticket
- Udit Raj merged his Indian Justice Party with the BJP in February 2014
- He and his supporters raised slogans outside Delhi BJP office on Monday
BJP leader Udit Raj, who was not named as the party's candidate for North West Delhi seat, today said he has decided to leave the party after it fielded singer Hans Raj Hans from the seat. He has also attacked the party, saying ticket distribution was based "on some inscrutable internal standards". The BJP has announced the candidates for all the seven Lok Sabha constituencies in the national capital.
"In 2014, I trusted the leadership of Honorable PM Narendra Modi and merged my 'Indian Justice Party' with the BJP. I now realize many smaller regional parties have benefited more by remaining independent," Udit Raj said in a statement.
"Is it my fault to be known as a 'Tall' Dalit Leader. Doesn't the grand party BJP want a leader who has been chosen by Dalits themselves?" he added.
Mr Raj claimed that he was denied the ticket despite topping the party's internal surveys.
"All BJP workers know that party had engaged four agencies to do a performance survey on MPs, I ranked on top in all of them," he said.
"In reality the decision making of weather to give ticket or deny ticket is based on some inscrutable internal standards," he added.
This morning, in a pinned tweet, Mr Raj threatened to say "goodbye to the party" if he was not picked as a candidate for the national election. Later, he said in an interview to NDTV: "Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal had warned me."
The party later announced Punjabi singer Hans Raj Hans as the candidate from North West Delhi seat.
"BJP didn't give me a ticket. I have decided to leave the party," Mr Raj told NDTV.
Udit Raj, the BJP parliamentarian from this constituency, merged his Indian Justice Party with the BJP in February 2014, just before the election that saw the party win a landslide. Udit Raj was one of the seven BJP parliamentarians who represented the party's complete victory in Delhi.
"I am waiting for ticket if not given to me I will do good bye to party," he tweeted this morning as people across the country voted in the third phase of the national election. "... I hope I will not be forced to leave BJP by BJP itself," tweeted Mr Raj.
I am waiting for ticket if not given to me I will do good bye to party- Chowkidar Dr. Udit Raj, MP (@Dr_Uditraj) April 23, 2019
On Monday night, Mr Raj went to the Delhi BJP office in central Delhi with supporters and raised slogans. Hans Raj Hans was inside at the time.
"...The party seems to have left me," the upset leader told NDTV. "(Aam Aadmi Party chief) Arvind Kejriwal called me yesterday, I called him today. He had warned me four months ago I won't get a ticket, so we were discussing about it. Rahul Gandhi also met me in parliament. He told me you're in the wrong party, leave it. So I was just remembering those days when they all had warned me. But I was honest and upright and believed too much in the party then," said the former Indian Revenue Service officer.
Mr Raj said he tried speaking with BJP chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi about his ticket but did not get any response. Senior party leaders, including Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh, had asked him to wait, the BJP parliamentarian said.
"I trust that the BJP will not betray Dalits," tweeted the BJP leader who is also the National Chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations. "Is being a best performer a negative point? The BJP needs Dalit support, but it wants a deaf-mute Dalit, not a Dalit leader. I happened to be a Dalit leader, a best performer," Mr Raj told NDTV.
Delhi has seven Lok Sabha seats, and the BJP has announced candidates for all the constituencies - Harsh Vardhan from Chandni Chowk, Manoj Tiwari from North East Delhi, Pravesh Verma from West Delhi, Ramesh Bidhuri from South Delhi, Hans Raj Hans from North West Delhi, Gautam Gambhir from East Delhi and Meenakshi Lekhi from New Delhi.
In the 2014 national election, Mr Raj defeated the Aam Aadmi Party's Rakhi Birla by over one lakh votes in North West Delhi.