New Delhi -°C
Today in New Delhi, India

Nov 14, 2019-Thursday
-°C

Humidity
-

Wind
-

Select city

Metro cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata

Other cities - Noida, Gurgaon, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Bhopal , Chandigarh , Dehradun, Indore, Jaipur, Lucknow, Patna, Ranchi

Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

How BJP plans to negate the problem of plenty for Maharashtra elections

The BJP is now in seat-sharing talks with its partner in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena. According to an Election Commission notification, the last date for filing of nominations for the Maharashtra polls is October 4; the verdict will be out on October 24.

india Updated: Sep 29, 2019 10:26 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
New Delhi
Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra CM, speaks to the media. BJP has deployed senior leaders like BJP’s general secretary Bhupendra Yadav, Uttar Pradesh’s deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and Karnataka deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi to pre-empt any rebellion in the party after candidate selection.
Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra CM, speaks to the media. BJP has deployed senior leaders like BJP’s general secretary Bhupendra Yadav, Uttar Pradesh’s deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and Karnataka deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi to pre-empt any rebellion in the party after candidate selection. (Kunal Patil/ Hindustan Times)
         

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will deploy a group of senior leaders in each of the assembly constituencies it contests in the Maharashtra state polls, scheduled for October 21, to pre-empt any rebellion in the party after candidate selection, a senior party leader said on condition of anonymity.

“We have at least three to five strong contenders for every seat; and only one can get {the party} ticket. Our biggest challenge is to manage {a potential} rebellion after distribution of tickets,” the BJP leader said. “We will depute a ‘damage control team’ in each assembly constituency to pre-empt any sabotage by those who do not get a ticket.”

The BJP is now in seat-sharing talks with its partner in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena. According to an Election Commission notification, the last date for filing of nominations for the Maharashtra polls is October 4; the verdict will be out on October 24.

Devendra Fadnavis became the BJP’s first chief minister of Maharashtra in 2014 after the party contested the elections to the 288-member assembly on its own and emerged as the single largest party in the House. The BJP won 122 seats and the Shiv Sena 63 in the 2014 state polls.

The party and the Shiv Sena, which had been the senior partner in the coalition with the BJP that ruled Maharashtra in 1995-99, joined hands by forming a post-poll alliance in 2014. In the April-May parliamentary polls, the BJP won 23 out of 25 seats it contested and the Sena 18 out of the 23 seats it fought.

In a way, it is a problem of plenty for the BJP in the western state this time around when it comes to candidate selection, according to analysts.

BJP’s general secretary Bhupendra Yadav, Uttar Pradesh’s deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and Karnataka deputy chief minister Laxman Savadi are monitoring this exercise. A zonal in-charge has also been appointed informally in each of the six regions of Maharashtra — Amravati, Aurangabad, Konkan, Nagpur, Nashik, Pune — to work closely with these “damage control teams”, which may seek support from local leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the BJP’s ideological parent, if such a need arises.

The party expects to win Maharashtra again. An alliance with the Sena is expected to widen the BJP’s victory margin; and it is only natural that there will be several claimants for party nominations, a second BJP leader said, requesting anonymity.

“We saw a similar race for party tickets in 2017 assembly election in Uttar Pradesh. An efficient management of sulking leaders following distribution of tickets helped us win UP with a huge margin. Maharashtra is also too big a state to allow any slip,” the second leader said.

The BJP is asking the Sena to leave 165 seats for it, and a formal announcement on seat-sharing is expected soon. Several rounds of discussions have already taken place in Mumbai to prepare a panel of prospective candidate for the seats that the BJP is likely to contest. A formal decision on candidates will be taken at a meeting of the BJP’s central election committee after Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns from his US trip on September 28.

Many seats that the BJP contested in 2014 may go to its ally in next month’s elections when the alliance is sewn up. “It is natural that there will be some heartburn among BJP candidates who lose their seats to Sena. We will also depute leaders for damage control exercise in seats that will go to the Sena,” the second BJP leader said.

Sidharth Mishra, president of New Delhi-based Centre for Reforms, Development and Justice, said: “The economics of politics is such that a ruling party with fair chances of returning to power will naturally have more saboteurs than the party hankering to regain power. BJP poll management team has done well to put a mechanism in place in advance to counter any move at subversion.”