Affable, media-savvy, Sushma’s daughter: Why BJP’s placed its bets on Bansuri Swaraj

Though claims on her past ABVP and BJP work don’t quite add up for the candidate from New Delhi constituency.

WrittenBy:Sumedha Mittal
Cutout of Bansuri Swaraj with pictures of her from her roadshows.

Almost every evening at about 4.30 pm, a caravan of six cars – two Ertigas, two Jaguars, a Nexon, a Skoda, and a Mercedes-Benz – leaves the BJP Delhi office in Sansad Marg, setting off for Basuri Swaraj’s campaign trail for the evening.

Bansuri, 40, the daughter of the late Sushma Swaraj, is making her political debut this election, contesting from New Delhi. It’s one of India’s most esteemed constituencies, housing power centres from Central Vista to Rashtrapati Bhavan, the old Secretariat to the Supreme Court. Winners here include former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former BJP supremo LK Advani, and even superstar Rajesh Khanna.

On May 1, Swaraj visited Amar Colony, accompanied by Delhi BJP president Virender Sachdeva. As they stepped out of their vehicles, hired drummers began a frenzied beat while a DJ, complete with console, played the BJP’s election anthem for 2024: “Jo Ram ko laaye hain hum unko laayenge.” (We will vote for the political party which has made the Ram temple in Ayodhya.)

Swaraj was besieged by reporters and cameramen. She held up a framed photo of Hanuman for the cameras, shouting “Jai Shri Ram”. Both acts violate the Model Code of Conduct, but there were no repercussions. She then climbed through the sunroof of one of her cars and the roadshow began. 

Swaraj is the “fresh talent” introduced by the BJP this election, replacing Meenakshi Lekhi. Lekhi, a Supreme Court lawyer like Swaraj, debuted in the 2014 polls, riding the Modi wave to win by over 1.6 lakh votes from New Delhi against incumbent Congress MP Ajay Maken. In 2019, she not only won again but increased her winning margin to over 2.5 lakh votes. 

But this year, Lekhi was denied a ticket in favour of Swaraj. She tweeted that she had “passed on the baton” to Swaraj, but party insiders told Newslaundry there’s been a “growing disconnect” between Lekhi and voters. 

“We were highly disappointed with Lekhiji,” said Bhuvan Sharma, head of the BJP Green Park mandal. “She had stopped meeting workers and was invisible on the field. In fact, it was becoming embarrassing for us to defend her in front of voters.”

Voters in New Delhi constituency told Newslaundry that Lekhi is “high-headed” and “stopped paying attention” to local issues like drainage and sewers. 

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