It’s official now. Fifty sitting Gujarat BJP MLAs have been denied tickets as the BJP has decided to go in for 100 new faces as its candidates for the state assembly elections, scheduled for December 11 and 16. That’s the way Chief Minister Narendra Modi wanted it to be.
The party’s central election committee on Friday night dropped 26 more sitting MLAs as it came out with its third list of 83 candidates for the second phase of next month’s assembly elections. This was after a 90-minute meeting that saw Modi argue his case for axing those legislators whose “performances” were rated low.
Party general secretary Ananth Kumar said the axe had to fall on such a high number to overcome the “anti-incumbency” factor in order to retain power. Nominees for 11 out of the total 182 seats are yet to be announced. In all, there are 29 women candidates this time as against 12 last time.
The election committee had dropped 13 sitting MLAs on November 18. However, Modi had played safe when it came to renominating 10 ministers belonging to the 14 districts of south Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch, which go to polls during the first phase.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister welcomed efforts to bring back expelled leader Uma Bharti into the BJP fold. Modi said he respected the suggestion given by her spiritual guru Pejewar Mutt Swami Vishvesha Tirtha on bringing her back to the saffron party. The CM had earlier spoken to the Swami to convince Bharti not to put up rebels against the BJP nominees.