BJP may field 5 of its 10 Chhattisgarh MPs in election



															The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is considering fielding at least five of its ten MPs from Chhattisgarh as candidates in next month’s two-phase assembly elections, top party leaders familiar with the development said on Tuesday.(AFP File Photo)

The BJP is likely to announce the first list of candidates by October 20, which will include nominees for 18 seats from the Bastar region affected by Maoist violence that goes to the polls on November 12. tags

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is considering fielding at least five of its ten MPs from Chhattisgarh as candidates in next month’s two-phase assembly elections, top party leaders familiar with the development said on Tuesday.

The reason why the ruling BJP wants to field top-notch leaders against Congress stalwarts is that the difference in votes between the parties was less than one percentage point in the 2013 assembly elections, a senior BJP leader from Chhattisgarh privy to candidate-selection talks said.

“Since the winning margin in Chhattisgarh is very low, we are focusing on each and every seat of the state. The aim is to target some stalwarts of the Congress in their own bastion... We have yet to finalise the names but a few MPs will definitely fight this election,” the BJP leader mentioned above said.

While the party is set to nominate three MPs, the names of two others who wish to contest are being considered, party leaders privy to the discussion on candidate selection said.

The BJP is likely to announce the first list of candidates by October 20, which will include nominees for 18 seats from the Bastar region affected by Maoist violence going to polls on Nov 12.

“The party is yet to decide the candidate list and meetings are going on. As far as MPs are concerned, the names of some are under process but a final decision is yet to be taken,” said BJP spokesperson Sacchidanand Upasane. State party president Dharamlal Kaushik refused to comment.

According to senior BJP?leaders, the three sitting MPs who may contest are Ambikapur MP Kamalbhan Singh Marabi, Bilaspur MP Lakhanlal Sahu, and Kanker MP Vikram Dev Usendi.

Marabi is likely to be fielded against leader of opposition and Congress Rajput leader TS Singhdeo from Sarguja constituency. The party is yet to decide on the seats for Sahu and Usendi.

“If the party decides about my candidature against Singhdeo , I will definitely fight...,” Marabi said. Sahu said he would surely contest if the party fields him as a candidate. Usendi did not respond to phone calls.

Another senior BJP leader, who is privy to the candidate-selection process, said Raipur MP Ramesh Bais and Mahasamund MP Chandulal Sahu have also expressed their wish to fight the polls. Bais was unavailable for comment despite repeated calls.

“The BJP is worried over anti-incumbency and they know that most of their MLAs are losing elections, hence they are planning to field MPs. Nothing can stop the Congress from forming the government in Chhattisgarh,” said Congress spokesperson RP Singh.

Ashok Tomar, a political commentator based in Raipur, said: “The strategy of the BJP to field candidates is their way to deal with anti-incumbency. But I am not sure whether it will work this time or not.”

First Published: Oct 16, 2018 23:00 IST

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