After terminating senior legislator Harak Singh Rawat as minister from the Pushkar Singh Dhami government and also from the primary membership of the party on Sunday night, the ruling BJP in poll-bound Uttarakhand has indicated that it is not going to tolerate “indiscipline” and pressure politics.
Continuing with the hard stand, the party has also indicated that in the run-up to the Uttarakhand elections 2022 due on February 14, the party is mulling dropping more legislators who face “strong” anti-incumbency in their respective constituencies. Party insiders suggest between 10 to 15 legislators could be axed.
The BJP’s central leadership is giving final touches to the candidates’ list. Earlier, the party’s election in-charge and Union minister Prahlad Joshi held deliberations for every single seat with CM Dhami, state BJP president Madan Kaushik and state in-charge Dushyant Gautam in Dehradun.
“We have held discussions for every single seat. It’s part of the regular election drill. At this moment, I cannot clearly say (on denial of tickets),” Madan Kaushik told News18.com.
However, those privy to developments said the party has analysed different survey reports and individual inputs on the performance of the legislators. The “inactiveness” of some of the MLAs, coupled with issues like price rise and joblessness, has reportedly led to discontent among voters, especially the youth.
In the 2017 elections, BJP had polled 47% of the total votes, the highest ever for any political party in the state since its formation in 2001.
“Retaining 47% vote share is an uphill task. The party’s strategy is to make whatever corrections needed, including dropping unpopular and poor performers, so it can secure no less than 40% vote share,” said a senior organisational leader.
Factors in Play
The BJP’s senior leadership is of the view that the party should not go soft on those who failed on the disciplinary front and remained inactive throughout their tenure. BJP insiders reveal that three major points have been considered on deciding the fate of the legislators — popularity among cadre and voters, activeness and a clean image.
Going by these factors, more than a dozen MLAs have failed to match up. For instance, a legislator in Pauri district was found to be immensely unpopular among workers and was also alleged to have taken a ‘cut’ in development schemes.
Another legislator in Udham Singh Nagar district often received bad press for his conduct in public and has been accused of “bullying” his own party workers. Similarly, an MLA from the Haridwar district has been cause for embarrassment for the party, having even moved the court in defiance of party instructions.