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India

BJP’s Formula To Beat Anti-Incumbency: Drop Sitting MLAs, Opt For Fresh Faces

Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the top leadership, the BJP has been ruthless in deciding the candidates’ lists for elections, going to the extent of dropping several sitting and powerful legislators if the feedback against them is unfavourable and they face strong anti-incumbency.

BJP
BJP (Photo: File Image)

Bharatiya Janata Party’s formidable election machinery is gearing up for Gujarat and Himachal Assembly elections as well as that of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. The party, which has been on a roll for almost a decade now winning most of the Assembly and other local bodies elections along with the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls, has perfected one art to secure power which its rivals have so far been unable to counter.

Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the top leadership, the BJP has been ruthless in deciding the candidates’ lists for elections, going to the extent of dropping several sitting and powerful legislators if the feedback against them is unfavourable and they face strong anti-incumbency.

To ensure that anti-incumbency does not throw a spanner in its goal of achieving power, the party has in the last several elections taken a firm stand of not giving tickets to those MLAs which may not be in the race to win again despite their past record and powerful image.

Gujarat Scenario

Gujarat has been a BJP fortress since 1995 except for a brief period of rule by the Rashtriya Janata Party of Shankersinh Vagehla. The party is eyeing power again when the state votes in two phases on December 1 and 5, 2022.

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The BJP had won 115 seats in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly in 2012 under the leadership of Narendra Modi, who was then the chief minister of the state. But in the next state election in 2017, the BJP dropped 44 MLAs, i.e. 38 per cent of its sitting legislators.

The 2017 elections saw the BJP capturing 99 seats with the Congress giving it a scare.

Five years later, the party has repeated only 56 incumbent MLAs in the list of 98 candidates. Thus, it dropped 44 candidates, which comes to 43 per cent of its sitting MLAs. The BJP even dropped former chief minister Vijay Rupani, deputy CM Nitin Patel and former education minister Bhupendra Singh Chudasma, who at one point of time played an important role in the party and Gujarat politics.

20222017
MLA’s dropped by BJP42 (42.86)44(38.26)
MLA’s Retained56 (57.73)71(61.74)

Himachal Pradesh Election

Himachal Pradesh, another BJP-ruled state and where voting took place on November 12, 2022, the party dropped 14 of the 44 MLAs who had won in 2017. The hill state has 68-member Assembly and in the last election, the BJP had defeated the Congress by winning 44 compared to 21 by the latter.

In 2012, the BJP had won 26 seats and five years later, it did not give tickets to five MLAs. Even senior BJP leader and former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal did not get the ticket to contest elections this time.

20222017
MLA’s dropped by bjp14 (32%)5 (19%)
MLA’s Retained2821

MCD Polls In Delhi

Delhi, a tough battleground for the BJP ever since the emergence of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is also in election mode with the municipal corporation poll.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has been with the BJP for the past 15 years. The voting to elect 250 ward councillors will take place on December 4, 2022, and the results will be declared three days later on the 7th

Here too, the BJP leadership has wielded the axe mercilessly and out of the 232 candidates declared so far, it has repeated only 52 including nine former mayors. In the 2017 elections, when Delhi had three municipal bodies, the BJP had won 169 out of the 272 seats.

In the 2012 MCD elections, the BJP had won 138 seats and five years later, none of them were repeated to ensure that there was no ward-wise anti-incumbency. The results show that the move paid rich dividends as the party was able to stop the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP from winning the poll. 

20222017
MLA’s Dropped by BJP117 (69%)138 (100%)
MLA’s Retained520