Battling 15-year-long anti-incumbency, BJP dropped 14 sitting MLAs from its first list of 77 candidates declared for Chhattisgarh Assembly polls, including social welfare minister Ramshila Sahu and Deputy Speaker Badridas Diwan.
Three-term Chief Minister Raman Singh will contest from his seat Rajnandgaon, while the party has fielded Lok Sabha MP Vikram Usendi from Antagarh seat.
After a meeting of the BJP Central Election Committee attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, the party announced candidates for 38 of the 119 assembly seats of Telangana, which included BJP state President K Laxman. The party also declared candidates for 13 of 40 assembly seats of Mizoram.
Besides a former IAS officer from Chhattisgarh, doctors, lawyers and other professionals have been fielded in all the three states.
The decision to drop 14 sitting MLAs in Chhattisgarh is a bold one and an experiment that can be implemented in other poll-bound states. Three of the five states going to polls are ruled by the BJP and a defeat in these Hindi belt states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh can spoil BJP’s game in 2019 general elections. BJP chief ministers are holding on to power in MP and Chhattisgarh for last three terms, while Rajasthan ruled by Vasundhara Raje is a switch state. These polls are being considered a “semi-final” to the Lok Sabha elections next year.
Announcing the decision, Union Minister J P Nadda said that efforts have been made to represent all sections in the list.
The voting in the five states will happen between November 12 and December 7.
Polling in Chhattisgarh would take place in two phases. While 18 of the 90 constituencies – the ones affected by ultra-leftist extremism – would go to polls on November 12, polling in the remaining 72 constituencies would be on November 20. Polling for all the 230 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh and all the 40 Assembly seats in Mizoram would be held on November 28. All the 200 assembly constituencies in Rajasthan and 119 in Telangana would go to polls on December 7. The counting of votes in all the five states will be on December 11 and the results are expected the same day.