BJP declares Rajesh Bhatia its candidate for Rajinder Nagar bypoll in Delhi

New Delhi, June 4 (PTI): The BJP on Saturday declared former councillor Rajesh Bhatia as its candidate for the June 23 Rajinder Nagar Assembly bypoll in Delhi. Bhatia, who belongs to the Punjabi community that forms a large chunk of votes in Rajinder Nagar, is also a former general secretary of the BJP's Delhi unit. Later, he was elevated to the post of general secretary in 2017.

He was elected as a councillor in 2012 from the Rajinder Nagar municipal ward of the erstwhile North Delhi Municipal Corporation.

The bypoll has been necessitated after the Rajinder Nagar Assembly seat became vacant as sitting AAP MLA Raghav Chadha was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Punjab. Chadha had defeated the BJP's R P Singh in the 2020 Delhi Assembly polls with a margin of over 20,000 votes.

The BJP had last won the seat in 2013. R P Singh was also an aspirant for the BJP ticket for the Assembly bypolls but Bhatia edged past him. Bhatia, 57, started his political career as a Yuva Morcha office-bearer of the Rajinder Nagar unit and later held the post of Karol Bagh district president of the BJP. Delhi BJP leaders said Bhatia had impressed the leadership through his dedicated work during the Uttarakhand Assembly polls.

This coupled with him being a member of the local Punjabi community in Rajinder Nagar led to the BJP selecting him as its bypoll candidate, they said. The AAP has fielded Durgesh Pathak from Rajinder Nagar while the Congress is yet to declare its candidate for the seat. The last date for filing nomination papers for the bypoll is June 6. Voting will be held on June 23 and results will be declared on June 26.