Assam Assembly polls

PRANJAL BHUYAN

GUWAHATI, Feb 5: Around 10-15 sitting legislators may be denied ticket by the BJP in the forthcoming Assam Assembly polls, even as the saffron party is likely to stake claim this time to four or five seats which were won by its ally AGP in the previous 2016 elections.

Sources in the State BJP told this newspaper that the internal surveys being carried out by the party are expected to be completed within this month and the fate of ticket seekers will depend on the reports of the surveys.

“Our party has asked leaders not to apply for tickets. The party will decide who to nominate in each constituency based on the factor of winnability. Multi-layered surveys are being carried out by both our central as well as state committees. Many aspects, including the popularity and mass appeal of leaders, work done by our government, implementation of schemes, and demographic and electoral statistics, among other things, at the constituency level are being looked into. The reports are expected within February. Selection of candidates for the Assembly polls, to a very large extent, will depend on the survey reports,” said a senior State BJP leader.

He admitted that the performance of some incumbent BJP legislators has not been up to expectations.

“While the final decision regarding ticket allocation will be taken by our party’s central election committee, we believe that 10-15 sitting MLAs may be denied re-nomination. That should not be a surprise. It happens in each election and in every state across India, as far as the BJP is concerned. Our party has a practice of promoting and giving chance to new faces and that happened in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls as well. It also helps to deal with local level anti-incumbency against old faces,” said the leader.

He added, “However, in the Barak Valley, most, if not all, of the incumbent MLAs are likely to be retained. In the rest of the State, we expect many new faces.”

Meanwhile, sources added that formal seat-sharing talks between BJP and its allies for the Assembly polls are expected to begin from around February 25.

“Some preliminary talks have been held by our senior State leaders with the AGP. But the formal talks with the AGP and the UPPL on seat distribution will be held by our central leadership,” said another BJP leader.

Asked about exchange of seats between the BJP and the AGP, the leader said, “That is a foregone conclusion. A few AGP MLAs are facing massive anti-incumbency in their respective constituencies. Fielding BJP candidates in those seats is the only viable option to retain such constituencies in the coming polls. There are four-five such seats which we will seek from the AGP and in exchange the regional party will be offered other constituencies.”