The BJP could ask at least a dozen of its 92 Rajya Sabha MPs, particularly those who have served more than one term, to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
During his recent meetings with members of Parliament of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its partners in the National Democratic Alliance, Prime Minister Narendra D Modi has suggested that Rajya Sabha members should contest at least one direct election, even if it were to be a civic election.
Over the past few days, the PM has met and addressed NDA MPs in groups, imploring them to work harder in their respective constituencies.
According to sources, the party could ask at least a dozen of its 92 Rajya Sabha MPs, particularly those who have served more than one term, to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The BJP has 18 Rajya Sabha MPs with more than one term (see chart).
The list of those having served more than one Rajya Sabha term includes Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Dharmendra Pradhan, Bhupender Yadav, Piyush Goyal, Mansukh Mandaviya, Parshottam Rupala, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, and Hardeep Singh Puri.
External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2019, was re-elected for a second term in July.
Puri was a Rajya Sabha MP in 2019 when he contested the Lok Sabha from Amritsar and lost. His Rajya Sabha colleagues Ravi Shankar Prasad and Smriti Irani fared better.
In 2014, Arun Jaitley, a Rajya Sabha member, contested the Lok Sabha from Amritsar, but lost. Of the BJP's 92 Rajya Sabha MPs, 28 will end their terms in April 2024.
In 2024, if the BJP follows a similar approach to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls of retiring MPs above the age of 75, at least a dozen of its current Lok Sabha members, including two-term Mathura MP Hema Malini and eight-term Bareilly MP Santosh Gangwar, may not get the party ticket.
Malini turns 75 this October, as would more than a dozen of her party colleagues during the course of 2024.
In 2019, the BJP retired MPs above 75, including Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, B C Khanduri, Kariya Munda, Kalraj Mishra, Bijoya Chakravarty, and Shanta Kumar.
Akin to 2019, the BJP leadership is assessing the anti-incumbency factors that its MPs face.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP dropped 99, or 36 per cent, of its MPs. The BJP did not repeat 55, or nearly a third of its 158 first-time Lok Sabha MPs.