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BJP plans to bank on new faces in upcoming elections

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.

Updated: Sep 21, 2019 02:59:21

By Kumar Uttam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and BJP Maharashtra president Chandrakant Patil being garlanded by supporters during the 'Vijay Sankalp Rally' in Nashik. (PTI photo)

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 seats out of 72 it contested in Jharkhand, where assembly has 81 elected members.



The BJP’s 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 this.

Second, several leaders from other parties have joined the BJP in these states between 2014 and now, 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-incumbency 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 the BJP 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 in the northern state. “Chief Minister Manohar Lal will have a greater say in candidate selection this time as compared to the 2014 election, when he was not even a legislator. He wants to change a lot of candidates,” a third leader said.

The BJP could not win a majority in Jharkand but secured one following defection by the legislators of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha of tribal leader Babulal Marandi.

“Most of these MLAs will replace the BJP candidates of the 2014 election,” a fourth leader said. “There are certain pockets such as Santhal Pargana and Kolhan where the BJP will need to replace its candidates.”

First Published: Sep 20, 2019 23:49:36

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