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Revealed! Mo-Shah's 370 MPs Plans

By Archis Mohan
March 05, 2024 12:44 IST
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The BJP's top leadership will drop its MPs found to be facing anti-incumbency, according to its internal surveys -- a pivotal tactic to ensure the party achieves its target of winning 370 seats.

IMAGE: Bharatiya Janata Party Supremo Narendra Damodardas Modi at a public meeting in Chennai, March 4, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo
 

Last fortnight, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India's just retired ambassador to the United States, posted pictures on social media of his interaction with farmers on the India-Pakistan border in Punjab's Amritsar.

At the other end of India, in the hill district of Darjeeling on the India-Nepal border, former foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, after his stint as the chief G20 coordinator for India's G20 presidency, has been busy with social work, ensuring the delivery of computers to schools or wheelchairs to those in need.

In March 2019, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party dropped 99, or 36 per cent, of its 268 sitting (down from the 282 it won in 2014 because of losses in by-polls and the passing away of sitting members).

It replaced them with first-timers, including former cricket players, actors, and retired bureaucrats.

Cricketer Gautam Gambhir, actors Sunny Deol, Ravi Kishan, Locket Chatterjee, singer Hans Raj Hans and bureaucrat Aparajita Sarangi were some of the BJP's first-time MPs in 2019.

In 2024, the BJP's top leadership would drop its MPs found to be facing anti-incumbency, according to its internal surveys, in their respective constituencies -- a pivotal tactic to ensure the party achieves its target of winning 370 seats.

The BJP wants to ensure that the party, along with its allies Apna Dal and Rashtriya Lok Dal, wins all of Uttar Pradesh's 80 seats, where it lost 16 in 2019.

To ensure this, the party will import winnable candidates from other parties, such as the Bahujan Samaj Party's Ritesh Pandey and the Congress' Jharkhand MP Geeta Koda.

Pandey, the sitting BSP MP from UP's Ambedkar Nagar, joined the BJP last month.

Geeta, the wife of former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, is the sitting Congress MP from Singhbhum. She joined the BJP last month.

Some other BSP MPs from UP are likely to join the BJP, sources said. In 2019, the BJP-led alliance lost two of Jharkhand's 14 seats.

The BJP is also unlikely to field those above 75 years of age or those with multiple terms under their belt to give opportunities to younger workers.

Another prong of this plan is to bring talented bureaucrats and technocrats into the government, just as it brought S Jaishankar, R K Singh, Hardeep Singh Puri, Ashwini Vaishnaw, and others to manage vital ministerial portfolios since 2014.

Shringla and Sandhu have been tight-lipped about contesting the Lok Sabha elections but fit the bill for the talented retired bureaucrats that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to look after ministerial portfolios.

Both Shringla and Sandhu served as India's ambassadors to the US.

After 35 years in the government, 61-year-old Sandhu superannuated from the Indian Foreign Service on January 31.

Since returning from Washington, DC earlier this month, Sandhu has jumped headlong into public outreach in his ancestral city of Amritsar.

He has been meeting entrepreneurs, doctors, farmers, and people from all sections of society.

Shringla, 62, under the auspices of the Darjeeling Welfare Society, has been involved in social work in his hometown since he retired as India's foreign secretary in April 2022.

In between, Shringla managed preparations for India's G20 presidency.

The BJP currently has 290 Lok Sabha MPs (down from 303 it won in 2019 as 10 quit after they were elected to the legislative assemblies of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh in December and its losses in by-polls).

In 2019, the BJP didn't field those above 75 years of age, such as Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Kariya Munda, L K Advani, Kalraj Mishra, Bijoya Chakravarty, B C Khanduri, Shanta Kumar, and Murli Manohar Joshi.

In 2024, at least 15 of its Lok Sabha MPs are either 75 years old or will soon be, including Mathura MP Hema Malini (who was renominated this weekend), Bareilly's Santosh Gangwar, and Lucknow MP Rita Bahuguna Joshi.

There is uncertainty about whether its multiple-term MPs will get party tickets this time.

Maneka Gandhi and Gangwar have completed eight terms. The party's Tikamgarh (Madhya Pradesh) MP and Union Minister Virendra Kumar has done seven.

There are eight BJP MPs, including Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who have served six terms, 11 have served five, 19 are into their fourth terms, 28 are in their third.

According to sources, Baghpat's two-term MP Satyapal Singh could be denied the party ticket since the BJP has promised it to the RLD.

Sitting MPs might also have to make way for Union ministers who were denied Rajya Sabha re-nominations and are likely to contest such as Dharmendra Pradhan, Bhupender Yadav, Mansukh Mandaviya and Parshottam Rupala.

In 2019, the BJP made Rajya Sabha MPs Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani and Puri contest the Lok Sabha polls.

Prasad and Irani won from Patna Sahib and Amethi, respectively, while Puri lost from Amritsar.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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Archis Mohan
Source: source
 
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