BJP scouts for new faces for UP polls, MLAs get restive


BJP legislators in Uttar Pradesh are now getting increasingly restive as reports indicate that more than 150 sitting MLAs could lose their tickets for the upcoming Assembly elections scheduled next year.

BJP legislators, in whose constituencies the party fared poorly in the panchayat elections, are the ones who are likely to face the axe.

“The panchayat elections are definitely a barometer for a legislator’s performance. In places where we lost, it was evident that the local representative did not work enough to create awareness about the performance of the Modi-Yogi governments,” said a party functionary.

In the previous Assembly elections, the party had replaced about 20 per cent of the sitting MLAs, but the figures could be much higher this time since the stakes for the BJP are also much higher for the 2022 elections.

Legislators, who apprehend that they may not be re-nominated for the next elections, have already started looking for greener pastures.

BJP MLA Rakesh Rathore from Sitapur recently met Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav and even allowed himself to be photographed with the SP chief.

“There are over two-dozen BJP MLAs who have either met Akhilesh Yadav or have spoken to him over phone. You should be prepared to see a massive exodus from the BJP in November,” said a BJP MLA on condition of anonymity.

A BJP functionary said, “In several states, the party has carried out ground surveys to assess the mood. MLAs were also asked to submit their report cards of the works done in the last five years, which were tallied with the party’s own findings. Those whose performance has not been up to the mark, will not be repeated.”

The performance of the legislators is being assessed on parameters such as the spending of local area development funds, projects done to empower the marginalised, and their contribution to the ‘Seva Hi Sangathan’ programme – the party’s welfare mission launched during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The party is particularly watchful of the performance of legislators during the pandemic, when the state government was working overtime to deal with the situation.

Surveys have been done across the constituencies wherein people’s feedback on the government’s performance was sought.

The BJP is determined to counter the anti-incumbency factor, which is a key concern for the party.

The BJP is also keen to pick faces that will strengthen its outreach among castes that it intends to court for favourable electoral outcomes.

Party leaders feel that changing faces will not only divert public attention and mitigate public anger, but also improve the party’s prospects.