Our Correspondent / New Delhi
The BJP has decided to drop all its 10 sitting MPs Chhattisgarh, including former chief minister Raman Singh’s son Abhishek. The state leadership of Chhattisgarh BJP has been asked to give fresh names by Wednesday, sources said on Tuesday after the party’s Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting in Delhi.
BJP faced a severe drubbing in the recent Chhattisgarh Assembly polls.
Sources said the CEC held discussions till late Tuesday evening to discuss names of candidates for Lok Sabha elections and the final list of the names is likely to be out by March 23, two days before the close of nominations for the first phase of election on April 11.
Tuesday’s deliberations by the CEC were the second in a series that began on Saturday. The meeting, held at party headquarters, was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadk-ari and Rajnath Singh.
Chhattisgarh BJP in-charge and national general secretary Anil Jain said, “The BJP will change all its sitting MPs in the state in this election, the CEC has approved it. We will bring new candidates and win on all 11 seats in the state.”
He pointed out that the decision came as the party wants “new candidates and fresh energy”.
While Raman Singh’s son Abhishek has been dropped, the former chief minister himself is likely to be fielded from Rajnandgaon, sources said.
Sources aware of discussions in the CEC said that the party is considering not to field old warhorses like L.K. Advani, M.M. Joshi, Shanta Kumar, Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Bhuvan Chand Khanduri, Kalraj Mishra and Shatrughan Sinha.
In Uttarakhand, Ajay Bhatt is likely to replace Mr Khanduri on the Garhwal seat whereas Tirath Singh Rawat is likely to be the party’s candidate from Nainital-Udhamsingh
Nagar, replacing Mr Koshyari. Ajay Tamta, Ramesh Pokhariyal and Rajyalakshmi Shah are likely to be repeated from their respective.
Sources said another CEC meeting is likely to take place on Wednesday evening along with interactions of various state core groups with Mr Shah.
On Sunday, the party had released a list of 123 candidates for Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections and 54 candidates for Arunachal Pradesh Assembly elections which are being held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls. The list was released following party’s CEC meeting on Saturday.
While the BJP has still not finalised the names of its candidates for the upcoming general elections, Opposition Congress has released five lists of total 137 candidates till now.