Updated: January 25, 2022 3:58:39 pm
A high-level BJP meeting on Monday finalised the remaining candidates for the coming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, with around 80 sitting MLAs likely to be dropped and seats changed for almost a dozen overall, sources said.
The core committee of the party met at the BJP headquarters here, with Home Minister Amit Shah and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath attending. The Central Election Committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Tuesday to give the final approval to the list.
The BJP is expected to contest around 380 seats of the total 403 in the state, leaving the remaining for its allies Apna Dal (S) and NISHAD Party. On Monday, names were finalised for the last three phases of the seven-phase election, involving 172 seats, with the party having already announced names of 197 candidates earlier.
BJP leaders said the only criteria for dropping sitting MLAs was “winnability” while pointing that a large number of the party’s 312 winning candidates last time were new faces. “The feedback from the constituency, the performance of the MLAs in the constituency and in the organisation, and the credibility of the person, were factored in for taking a final decision. Certainly, there were a few constituencies where the party had to seek consensus when there were more than one candidate with good credentials,” a person involved in the process said.
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Sources said the BJP leadership was keen on dropping more sitting MLAs but after the recent exit of three ministers and almost a dozen MLAs, it decided to proceed with caution, “taking into account disturbances on the ground” if an MLA was changed.
The Apna Dal (S) has been demanding more than double the 11 seats it contested in 2017, and the NISHAD Party 15 seats. However, the BJP has reportedly decided not to concede more than two-three extra seats from 2017 for the Apna Dal, which had won nine seats then. The NISHAD Party, formed in 2016, had contested 72 seats last time and won only one, Gyanpur in Bhadohi.
The BJP had fought 384 seats last time, when apart from the Apna Dal (S) it had tied up with the SBSP (Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party). The SBSP had contested eight seats and won four.
The BJP is most apprehensive about eastern UP, where the exit of some prominent OBC faces, including ministers Swami Prasad Maurya and Dara Singh Chauhan, is expected to have an impact, especially on support for the party among backward castes.
Monday’s meeting was also attended by Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who is in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, and UP Deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma, among others.
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