NEW DELHI: With the Election Commission likely to announce the dates of Lok Sabha polls later this week, BJP chief Amit Shah has gone on an overdrive to speed up candidate selection, with plans afoot to field state satraps, including former chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan (MP), Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh) and Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan).
The BJP is learnt to be in the process of giving final shape to its candidate list, with the plan to replace about 40 per cent of its sitting MPs. Shah went into a huddle with all the party general secretaries on Monday to expedite the selection of candidates. The first round of meetings with state unit chiefs has been held. They have been asked to finalise three to four names against each parliamentary constituency. The party will be rolling out the names this month, with the earlier phases of polls likely to be held in April,” said a senior BJP functionary.
While Chouhan and Singh are likely to fall in line and agree to join the poll fray, sources said Raje has made her reluctance to contest Lok Sabha elections clear to the party brass.
The BJP, sources said, wants Raje to replace her son Dushyant Singh from Jhalawar-Baran constituency. However, Raje is learnt to have told BJP organisational secretary Ram Lal that she would stick to state politics.
The BJP chief is learnt to have be zeroing in on candidates after having gathered assessment reports for all the states from a host of sources, including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and feedback shared by people on the NaMo App.
“Largely, the assessment reports suggest the party should replace a good number of sitting MPs, roughly about 40 per cent, to beat prevailing anti-incumbency against them. The state units have been asked to submit their recommendations, which will be taken into account before finalising nominees for the elections,” said the BJP functionary.
Sources said the RSS has advocated dropping 11 sitting MPs in Rajasthan where the party had won all 25 seats in 2014.