GUWAHATI, Aug 17 - The ruling BJP may drop as many as three of its seven sitting MPs from Assam during next year�s Lok Sabha elections and go for new faces in select constituencies.
Sources in the State BJP told this newspaper that though polls are still a few months away and formal discussions regarding ticket allotment has not yet begun, possibilities are high of two, and even up to three, of the party�s sitting MPs being denied candidature.
�Word is spreading within party circles that some old faces may be replaced by new ones. While nothing is official yet, but the fact that such a possibility has been broached is reason enough to make us believe that something is in the offing,� a BJP leader told The Assam Tribune.
Sources said that even though BJP president Amit Shah has relaxed the �unwritten rule� of retirement for leaders after reaching 75 years of age, there is likelihood that Guwahati Lok Sabha MP Bijoya Chakravarty may not be so lucky.
�Chakravarty may not make it to the list of candidates this time. She is above 75 years of age. There is a possibility that sitting MP from Mangaldai Ramen Deka may be shifted to Guwahati,� said the leader.
Deka had reportedly wanted to contest from Guwahati constituency in 2014 as well, party sources said.
They added in case Deka is shifted to Guwahati, then former MLA Jayanta Malla Baruah may be a contender for the Mangaldai Lok Sabha seat.
Sources in the saffron party said that Tezpur MP Ram Prasad Sharma�s fortunes may also be affected due to the APSC cash-for-jobs scam in which his daughter was arrested, though she is now out on bail.
�While his daughter�s guilt is yet to be proven and there is also no evidence regarding Sharma�s involvement in the APSC scam, but public perception matters a lot in electoral politics.
Besides, over the last four years, Sharma had time and again made some very unwarranted and controversial statements which have not gone down well with the electorate. These are negative points with regard to Sharma and no political party wants to face an election saddled with liabilities,� a BJP leader said.
He added that some question marks have also arisen regarding Rajen Gohain�s chances.
�Gohain has won from Nagaon consecutively since 1999. He had managed to win from the constituency even at a time when our party did not have a single MLA from any of the Assembly segments under Nagaon Lok Sabha. He is a master strategist who always delivers for the party.
But the most recent incident, involving filing of a case against him for allegedly raping a lady, coming on the heels of various other controversies, may cause Gohain some problem. Many people in his constituency are also upset with his role in the �AIIMS for Raha� issue,� said the BJP leader.
He added, �however, I personally believe that Gohain will still manage to wriggle himself out of this sticky situation. Gohain knows the ins and outs of Nagaon, and has a very strong grasp in the region and the constituency�s demographic profile is such that the party may find it difficult to find a suitable alternative candidate.�
Party sources, however, added that a clearer picture regarding ticket allocation is likely to emerge only a month or two prior to the elections and added that it is the BJP�s central leadership which will take the final decision.
The saffron party had won seven of the 14 Lok Sabha seats from Assam in the 2014 General Elections and is targeting to cross the double-digit mark in 2019.