The Bhartiya Janata Party released its first list of 177 candidates for the single-phase Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections scheduled to be held on November 28. The BJP also declared names of 28 candidates for Telangana and 24 for Mizoram Assembly polls. Keeping its promise of ‘perform or perish’, the BJP has denied tickets to 27 sitting MLAs including three ministers ahead of Madhya Pradesh assembly polls.
Along with Women and Child Development Minister Maya Singh, the BJP has denied tickets to Forest Minister Gauri Shankar Shejwar and Water Resources Minister Harsh Singh (plagued by poor health). The party has also denied ticket to Vyapam tainted former minister Laxmikant Sharma who was lobbying hard to get a ticket.
The lawmakers who invited controversy because of their uncivilized acts or by their nonsensical remarks also failed to get tickets. The party denied ticket to MLA Champalal Dewada who had beaten up a cop inside a police station in Dewas. The party also snubbed Pannalal Shakya who embarrassed the party by calling Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and actress Anushka Sharma ‘anti-national’ after the couple chose a foreign destination for their grand wedding.
The incumbent MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan would again contest from his traditional Budhni Assembly constituency.
The message is loud and clear ‘perform or perish’. This strategy would not only help in weeding out the non-performers from the government but would also help the party to counter anti-incumbency in the state in which it has been in power for almost 15 years. Replacing sub-performing MLAs/ministers was one of the reasons why Modi-Shah duo managed to win and defeat anti-incumbency factor in Gujarat.
Last month, in the first list of 77 candidates for the 90 member Chhattisgarh assembly, the BJP denied tickets to 14 sitting MLAs including a minister. The party denied ticket to Women and Girl Child Welfare Minister- Ramshila Sahu- who happens to be an MLA from Durg rural.
According to the Times of India report, the BJP is excogitating a drop of 80 to 100 out of the sitting 160 MLAs in Rajasthan in order to continue its winning streak. The party is likely to field young first-time candidates to counter anti-incumbency. The decision of dropping the sitting MLAs will be taken on the basis of feedback regarding lawmakers’ performance gathered from the party surveys. Ticket distribution on the basis of performance makes lawmakers’ more accountable and tread a tightrope. This is not only a bid to bring new faces but also to cement the ‘perform or perish’ policy of the centre.
This can also be seen as a message that MP tickets for 2019 general elections are going to be distributed on the basis of performance which is a good way to make MPs more accountable in their constituencies. This stratagem has worked before and it would be interesting to see whether this formula would work again or not.
The BJP had already warned all the sitting MPs and MLAs that candidature would be subjected to performance review and those who fail to make the cut would be dropped irrespective of their stature in the party.