Sitting member of parliament from the reserved northwest Delhi parliamentary seat Udit Raj Tuesday claimed he was being forced to quit the BJP but said he has not taken a decision on the matter yet. BJP has not given the former Indian Justice Party chief a ticket for the Lok Sabha polls this time and instead fielded singer Hans Raj Hans from the seat on which Udit Raj had won in 2014.
"I will not contest as an independent candidate. They (BJP) are forcing me to leave the party but I have not taken a decision on quitting. I will consult my supporters across the country," he said.
Talking about the possible reasons why he was denied a ticket, Mr Raj said:
"When there was bandh in 2018 on SC-ST amendment I protested, that's why the party leadership seemed to be unhappy with me. When there was no government recruitment happening, was I not supposed to raise the issue? I will continue to raise the issues of Dalits."
Mr Raj said three to four months ago Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had told him that he would not be given a ticket.
"I am the best performer in the BJP's internal survey. Nobody talked to me on denial of ticket. If I have faith in Modi and Shah, they should have told me that I would not be given ticket. I have not resigned yet. Showing faith in Modi, we had merged our party with the BJP. Why am I being punished?" he asked.
On the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday, supporters of Udit Raj and Hans Raj Hans had raised slogans at the Delhi BJP office on Pandit Pant Marg. Mr Raj, along with supporters, had reached the office after hearing about Hans Raj Hans being considered by the party. Mr Raj had merged his Indian Justice Party (IJP) with the BJP and contested the Lok Sabha election from northwest Delhi in 2014.
Mr Raj claimed Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari had assured him of a ticket from northwest Delhi. Mr Raj said he is in contact with senior party leaders Nirmala Sitharaman and Arun Jaitley in this regard.
The BJP member of parliament has been a vocal supporters of Dalits and has often held views contrary to the party's stand, especially during the the Sabrimala issue and "Bharat Bandh" called by Dalit organisations last year.
(With inputs from PTI)