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Battle for UP: BJP to replace number of sitting MLAs

Lucknow: The BJP plans to counter the anti-incumbency factor in Uttar Pradesh by replacing over 100 sitting legislators for the Assembly elections slated to begin next month.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other state leaders are expected to reach Delhi on Tuesday with their recommendations for the first two phases of the polls for western Uttar Pradesh.

The state leadership, which met on Monday night, indicated that they favoured dropping a significant number of incumbents.

The party is banking on the “goodwill over welfare schemes” and the robust law and order situation prevailing in the state to deliver a “pro-incumbency” sentiment in the polls and leaders believe that the discontent against individual MLAs might see the party losing a few seats that it should win.

However, these reports have made the sitting BJP legislators increasingly restive.

BJP MLA Radha Krishna Sharma, who won the Bilsi Assembly seat in Badaun, joined the Samajwadi Party (SP) on Monday. Earlier, BJP MLAs Madhuri Verma (Bahraich) and Rakesh Rathore (Sitapur) also shifted loyalty to the SP.

“We should have been informed in advance about the party decision. The nomination for the first phase begins in two days and we are yet undecided about our fate. This is bound to lead to discontent and, perhaps, even internal sabotage,” said an MLA from western Uttar Pradeh.

“There is no doubt that one-third of the sitting legislators will be replaced, mainly because of non-performance. However, it will be done in a way that denial of tickets does not result in too many rebels,” said a senior party functionary.

He said that replacements of the existing MLAs will be announced on the last dates of filing of nominations.

The BJP’s poll in-charge and Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has already held consultations with leaders from various regions to discuss the electoral prospects of sitting MLAs and other candidates for seats that the party had lost in 2017.


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