A substantial number of the sitting 282 BJP MPs are not likely to be given tickets for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, making way for new faces, senior BJP party leaders have stated.
According to highly placed BJP sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who on Wednesday, while addressing the party MPs after the win in Uttar Pradesh, said that “Na baithunga, na baithne dunga (neither will I sit idle, nor will I allow you to sit idle)”, has asked the party leaders to start preparing for the 2019 elections and has indicated that “non-performer MPs” will not be given tickets, ignoring their “seniority” and “family” claims.
These party sources said that MPs who have not worked in their constituencies or have become inaccessible after the 2014 elections, are likely to be sounded out by the party to either improve things or be ready to campaign for new faces in 2019. Even the RSS has been generating feedback about the performance of the MPs and it too is of the view that non-performers should not be repeated in 2019.
“We are already getting feedback about MPs who have become lackadaisical in their approach after winning the elections in 2014. Even though we formed government in Goa, we have found that our existing MPs and MLAs had become inaccessible, due to which we did not perform as well as we had expected. Similar reports are also coming from other states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. There has been a disconnect between the people and the MPs in many seats which we need to address. We have already started preparing for the 2019 elections and no non-performer, whatever be his stature or experience, will be allowed to ruin the party’s chances. No MP should be under the impression that his or her ticket is confirmed,” said a senior party source, who, however, did not give the number of such MPs who may be denied tickets. However, multiple sources in the BJP indicated that one third of the sitting MPs may be dropped.
PM Modi, according to sources, wants to give tickets to “young” faces so as to build the party’s next generation of leaders.
“Our second generation is not that strong. The number of leaders who constitute the next generation can be counted on fingers and that is why we are looking at a larger picture of having more young energetic leaders who can represent the party’s views in the public in the coming years. The way people overwhelmingly voted for the BJP (in Uttar Pradesh) is a clear indication of the PM’s popularity cutting across religion and caste. Denying tickets to a substantial number of current MPs is a step towards maintaining this momentum,” the party source added.
In the 2014 general elections, BJP won on 282 seats out of the 427 it contested. “In 2014, Modi was the sole reason behind the victory of many of our MPs. However, if the MP is not in a position to win on his own this time, then it is better that he or she is replaced,” added the party leader.