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BJP May Drop Over Half of its MLAs in Rajasthan, Even Cabinet Ministers Not Guaranteed a Ticket

The discussions on selecting candidates for the Rajasthan election were reportedly fraught with protests with several claimants coming forward in each constituency.


Updated:October 23, 2018, 5:48 PM IST
BJP May Drop Over Half of its MLAs in Rajasthan, Even Cabinet Ministers Not Guaranteed a Ticket
File photo of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. (Reuters)

Jaipur: The Bharatiya Janata Party is contemplating dropping more than half of its MLAs in Rajasthan in an attempt to protect its prospects from anti-incumbency, in what could be the largest ever-culling of incumbent legislators.

This was discussed at a three-day meet on the selection of candidates recently held in Jaipur, with Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje presiding over the meet. Sources said even cabinet ministers in the Rajasthan government are not guaranteed a ticket from their respective constituencies.

According to sources, multiple panels were set up and seat-wise discussion took place at the session, the second such discussion held ahead of the election. Opinions from local representatives, party workers and municipal councillors were taken over who could be a winning candidate from their respective seats in the upcoming elections.

The discussions were reportedly fraught with protests from party workers as multiple leaders staked a claim on candidature. On the final day, candidature for legislative seats from Jaipur city and Bharatpur region were discussed.

During the meet, BJP sought feedback from party delegates over sitting MLAs and on the chances of a repeat victory in their respective constituencies. The entire exercise was the first step in the preparation of the candidate list.

According to sources, BJP has sent a message to its cadres to ask for votes over the Lotus symbol of the party instead of the name of a local leader.

Sanganer constituency, where former BJP leader Ghanshyam Tiwari is an incumbent MLA, was a heavy topic of discussion and at least 12 BJP leaders sought to fight from the seat. Tiwari, a three-time MLA from the constituency, quit BJP in June and formed his own Bharat Vahini party.

According to sources, at least four leaders sought the ticket from Malviya Nagar constituency, where state Health Minister Kali Charan Saraf is a sitting MLA. However, dropping influential ministers and legislators from the candidate list could prove to be problematic for BJP.

During the discussions, leaders also deliberated over CM Raje running from Rajakhera constituency in Dholpur district. She currently represents Jhalrapatan in Jhalawar district in the Legislative Assembly and has been elected thrice as an MLA from the seat.

The candidate who emerges stronger in surveys and polls will be given a ticket, sources said. The first phase of discussions took place last week in Ranakpur, Pali district, where BJP deliberated over candidature on 102 seats. The remaining 98 seats were the topic of discussion in the second phase.

The election committee will now meet and deliberate over the panels set on 200 seats and decide the final list of candidates. The final nominations are expected to come after Diwali in November.

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