The BJP lost the seat of one of its sitting MLAs, Sanjay Sharma, from Tendukheda, to the Congress on Tuesday.
New Delhi: Amid reports that the BJP in Madhya Pradesh could replace nearly 50-60 per cent of its sitting MLAs to beat anti-incumbency, nearly 20 MLAs of the ruling party are said to be in touch with the opposition Congress to switch sides. Most of these MLAs, it is learnt, are those who had represented their Assembly berths for over one term and have a significant support base and influence, which could dent the saffron party’s poll prospects if its poll managers fail to pacify these party leaders. Murmurs in the party are that if the leadership replaces so many MLAs just to beat “anti-incumbency”, it belies the BJP leadership’s claim of a “bemisaal (unparalleled) Madhya Pradesh”.
While the BJP sounds confident of retaining power in the state for the fourth time in a row under CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s leadership, many pundits feel the party will face one of its toughest electoral battles in the state.
The BJP had won 165 of 230 Assembly seats in the last polls in 2013 and speculation is rife that about 80 MLAs could be replaced with new faces and sitting members of Parliament. The Congress won 58 seats. The BJP lost the seat of one of its sitting MLAs, Sanjay Sharma, from Tendukheda, to the Congress on Tuesday.
The BJP’s central election committee is likely to meet on Thursday when the names of candidates for the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan polls are likely to be announced. Sources said the CEC could announce the maximum number of Madhya Pradesh candidates in the first list itself as the state will go to the polls on November 28.
A senior BJP leader from the state said if anti-incumency was the reason for replacing MLAs, it reflected mainly on the state government and its performance, and asked how in that case the leadership could in good faith use the slogan “bemisaal Madhya Pradseh”.
The BJP top brass, it is learnt, has also clarified to its leaders seeking tickets for their relatives that it wants to give a chance to new faces this time, and does not want to field more than one member of a family.