Party president Rajnath Singh made the announcement at press conference and said that the decision was unanimous and Goel also consented to it.

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Singh was flanked by several senior leaders including veteran L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Ananth Kumar and Delhi Election in-charge Nitin Gadkari. Both Goel and Vardhan were also present at the press conference.

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All members of the parliamentary board were in the meeting except Narendra Modi who has given his consent to the decision, party sources said.

Talking to media persons after his anointment, Harsh Vardhan said, “We will keep on taking inspiration from the path shown to us by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani. At the same time, I would like to assure to the people of Delhi that we will eliminate the mis-governance of Congress.”

The party expects that by presenting Vardhan, a former health minister who has a clean image, as the chief ministerial candidate it will be able to put up a tough fight to dethrone the Congress dispensation, which has been in power for the last 15 years.
    
The decision by the party has come despite stiff opposition to Vardhan's candidature by Goel. The internal squabbles in Delhi BJP over the issue had threatened to take its toll on the party's campaign.
   
A number of Delhi BJP leaders last week had conveyed to the party's central leadership that they should announce the candidature of Vardhan, arguing that he has wider acceptability among people, party leaders and workers.

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The final decision on Harsh Vardhan was, however, not taken on Monday as Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, was yet to return from a visit to the US. LK Advani, Narendra Modi, Jaitley and the RSS favoured Harsh Vardhan. The turning point came when Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, too, agreed to Harsh Vardhan's name.
    
Party sources said that the decision on Harsh Vardhan had been conveyed to Goel. Goel has been asked to accept the decision without creating any fuss, they added. He had reportedly threatened to resign from the post of Delhi unit president when told about the likelihood of Harsh Vardhan being made the chief ministerial candidate. "Goel has been told in clear terms that if he carried out his threat to resign, his resignation letter will be accepted," a senior party leader said.
    
Goel, meanwhile, told reporters that he was not in the race for being named the chief ministerial candidate. Asked about Goel's comments, the party's Delhi election in-charge, Nitin Gadkari, said, "The BJP parliamentary board and the party president will take a decision on the issue. There is no race in the party for being the CM candidate."

(JPN/Agencies)

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