The Bharatiya Janata Party's decision to drop seven sitting MLAs in the first list is an attempt to send a message that it will not accept political corruption. Six of the seven MLAs were earlier expelled from the party on charges of anti-party activities.
"The decision was taken in the interest of the party and the state," said Nirmal Singh, election in-charge, J&K.
The party had in October 2011 suspended seven MLAs on charges of cross-voting in elections for the upper house. The party candidate had got only four votes then.
It had helped the NC candidate win the election comfortably. The party had this year revoked the expulsions of all the MLAs except former union minister Chaman Lal Gupta.
Even though it had 11 MLAs in the 2008, it couldn't build an image of honest and effective alternative.
The BJP is taking elections very seriously and is hoping to emerge as the single largest party in the state. It's closely scrutinising the public image of the candidates.
It's for this reason it denied ticket to even Ashok Khajuria, a sitting MLA from Jammu city, the traditional stronghold of the BJP. Chief minister Omar Abdullah had publicly accused him of seeking personal favours. Khajuria had even threatened to file a defamation case against the CM.
The episode of Khajuria-Omar confrontation, where the CM had 'exposed' the face of the BJP did much damage to its image.
"The party couldn't have adopted different yardsticks for Khajuria. He had to go," said a senior BJP leader. Khajuria, who is vocal in criticising the NC publically, was in the meeting of the central election committee which approved the tickets.
Even after the expulsion of Seven MLAs by the party, their membership from the assembly was not cancelled by the speaker, who is from the NC, though anti-defection law is clear on it.
Allegations were levelled in all these three years that they were being used by the NC. The Congress had made an issue of this in the past too.
The party enters the election arena with a clean slate and is sending a message of 'cleanising' up the political spectrum also.