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BJP to show door to dud MPs in '19

Performance sole factor as party starts zeroing in on candidates for LS polls

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BJP to show door to dud MPs in '19
Amit Shah
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About 100 of the 282 BJP MPs are not likely to be fielded because of performance, age and other criteria as the ruling party starts the process to pick candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, informed sources told DNA.

The party believes that the major — and perhaps the only — factor of winnability lies with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charismatic leadership which, aided by party president Amit Shah's skilled poll management, will help in retaining the states where the BJP has already peaked. The dual factor will also allow the party to make sizeable push in newer territories such as Odisha, West Bengal and in north-eastern and southern states.

"With winnability factor taken care of, everything has boiled down to the choice of candidates on the basis of their ability to perform and show results. It may cost about 30 to 40 per cent MPs, who have been laggards, their seats as the party would like to choose people who can perform," said the source.

Candidates will be judged on work in their constituencies, performance in Parliament and their effectiveness in promoting and implementing PM Modi's flagship schemes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jan Dhan Yojna, Start Up India, Stand Up India, Digital India and Housing for All.

Shah has already laid out a roadmap to win 360-plus seats in the 543-member House in 2019. He has identified 150 seats which the party lost in 2014 in states such as West Bengal, Odisha, Karnataka and in the northeast.

Modi and Shah recently met the Chief Ministers and their deputies of all 13 BJP-ruled states to devise strategy to fight anti-incumbency in states such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

By not retaining non-performing MPs, the BJP also wants to get rid of the charge that most of its ministers are from the Rajya Sabha and, thus, not elected by the people. In the present council of ministers, at least 18 are from the Upper House. They include: 12 Cabinet ministers such Arun Jaitley, Nirmala Sitharaman, JP Nadda, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal, Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Smriti Irani, Suresh Prabhu, Prakash Javadekar, Dharmendra Pradhan, Chaudhary Birender Singh and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

In comparison, only 15 Cabinet ministers are elected representatives from the Lok Sabha. They include Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Ananth Kumar, Uma Bharti, DV Sadananda Gowda, Dr Harshvardhan, Ramvilas Paswan, Maneka Gandhi, Anant Geete, Harsimrat Kaur, Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, Narendra Singh Tomar, Jual Oram and Radha Mohan Singh.

Sources said that the party general secretary in-charges of states have been tasked to evaluate MPs' performance by taking feedback of their work from the field, and submit it to party president Shah.

"Once the list of shirker and doer MPs is prepared, the party will decide on the names of other deserving candidates in advance, but the announcement of candidates will be done at a later stage, close to the elections," said the source.

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