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Posted at: Mar 15, 2019, 7:29 AM; last updated: Mar 15, 2019, 7:29 AM (IST)RACE FOR BJP TICKET

It’s Kirron’s coffee vs Tandon’s chai

It’s Kirron’s coffee vs Tandon’s chai
Illustration: Sandeep Joshi

Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, March 14

Before the fight with the Congress and AAP, it seems a contest is already on between MP Kirron Kher’s coffee and city BJP chief Sanjay Tandon’s “chai” in the race for the party ticket for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat.

While Kher is holding several events, mainly meeting people/organisations, with the hashtag “coffee with Kirron”, Tandon is organising a number of events named “chai pe charcha”.

On her social media accounts, she has been posting “coffee with Kirron” after meetings with people from different walks of life. A party insider said, “This term was coined from “coffee with Karan” as it is similar to her name and is easy to connect with people. Ma’am is also close to Karan Johar; that is also the reason.”

“She has been interacting with people as part of the voter outreach programme; so we wanted a term which connects with people. We were thinking of dinner, “chai” or coffee. But, we finally zeroed in on ‘coffee with Kirron’,” said another party source.

However, Kher said, “We are meeting people over coffee to have a connect, so it was named like that.” Her supporters said she had been meeting people and taking their feedback about works done in the past five years.

Tandon is relying on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s national outreach programme named “chai pe charcha”. The latest major “chai pe charcha” with Tandon was organised last Saturday where he held an interaction with “likeminded” RWAs, NGOs and intellectuals from different fields to drive home his message.

“It is a way to connect with people in a friendly manner and discuss various city development issues. We have been holding ‘chai pe charcha’ at different places,” Tandon, who has been the BJP chief here for nine years, told Chandigarh Tribune.

Interestingly, the two leaders do not share their “chai” or coffee with each other. Showing factionalism within the party, the two often do not attend each other’s programmes. The duo has been holding parallel events in the city. Supporters and councillors, owing allegiance to either of them, too, have been avoiding attending each other’s events.

Kher is relying on having fulfilled certain major demands, including allowing need-based changes in CHB flats, conversion of residential leasehold properties into freehold (though the high cost has been an issue) and the Union Cabinet’s nod for land to the CHB for the construction of apartments for 3,930 allottees, a scheme hanging fire for about a decade, among others.

Tandon, according to his men, has to his credit victories in the zila parsihad, panchayat and MC elections, besides strengthening the party at the booth level and getting certain demands of residents fulfilled. 

On the other hand, supporters of former MP Satya Pal Jain, who has also thrown his hat in the ring, said, “He is also meeting people, but does not believe in publicity until the names are announced by the party.” 

The three leaders told Chandigarh Tribune that they were working for the party and it was up to the central leadership to decide.  

The BJP may give a surprise like last year by bringing in a new face at the last moment. The names of two sports legends from the city are also doing the rounds, but there is no confirmation yet.

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