NEW DELHI: After the last year’s tough Gujarat election, BJP chief Amit Shah is likely to reach out to the sitting legislators, who may be denied poll tickets in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, as a preemptive measure for checking any rebellion in the party ranks.While the BJP is sensing an uphill task in Rajasthan, assessments by groups associated with the saffron party predict that the Congress can throw a stiff challenge in Madhay Pradesh as seen in the Gujarat election.
“Rajasthan is indeed a tough challenge for the BJP. The party has much work to do there to beat anti-incumbency factor. The BJP is likely to scrape past in Madhya Pradesh even as the Congress may stage a Gujarat-like improvement in the party strength,” said one of the heads of an agency engaged in undertaking ground-level assessment.
Shah is likely to engage with the sitting legislators who would be denied re-nomination on account of adverse assessments against them, sources said, adding that the BJP chief will use the “carrot and stick” policy to keep a check on rebellions.
The BJP has denied re-nominations to 38 sitting legislators, including two ministers, in the first list of 177 candidates for MP. The numbers is likely to be much larger in Rajasthan. “A majority of the sitting MLAs in Rajasthan are from the camp of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. The CM is expected to explain the reasons for dropping some of these ticket-seekers. Shah will also engage them in consultations during the campaign trail and enlist their support for the party,” a BJP insider added.
The Congress had come up with a much improved show in Gujarat, where it made significant inroads in rural areas. The BJP retained power, thanks to its performances in urban areas. “Issues are roughly the same as had been seen in Gujarat, which include unemployment, agrarian distress. The BJP will have to control damages in rural belts of the two crucial states,” said a senior BJP functionary.