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BJP plans to bank on new faces in upcoming elections

September 21, 2019 05:30 AM


BJP plans to bank on new faces in upcoming elections
Kumar Uttam

New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party plans to replace at least a fourth of its candidates for the assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand later this year, four BJP leaders from these states said on condition of anonymity.

Maharashtra and Haryana will go to polls in October, while Jharkhand votes in December. All three states are ruled by a BJP government, although the party has a majority on its own only in Haryana.

The BJP fielded 422 candidates out of 459 assembly seats spread across the three states in the last round of state elections and won 206. It contested 260 out of 288 seats of Maharashtra and won 122 seats. It fielded candidates in all 90 seats of Haryana and won 47. And it won 37 of the 72 seats it contested in Jharkhand.

Its strategy is driven by two considerations, said one leader. First, there is push to promote younger leadership at the grassroots level and the assembly election will be an opportunity to do so.

Second, several leaders from other parties have joined the BJP in these states since 2014, especially in the run up to the April-May national election, and the party will be looking to field most of them. “This is a tested formula to also cut personal anti-ncumbency faced by sitting legislators,” a second BJP leader said.

At least two dozen prominent leaders from the Congress and the National Congress Party have joined the BJP in Maharashtra, where it did not have an alliance with the Shiv Sena for the 2014 assembly election, and forged one after the results. “These leaders have given us foothold in regions where the BJP did not do well in the last assembly election. Most of them will get a BJP ticket,” the second leader said.

The BJP won a simple majority in Haryana, but has grown in size there. “CM Manohar Lal will have a greater say in candidate selection this time as compared to 2014, when he was not even a legislator. He wants to change a lot of candidates,” a third leader said.

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