Ticket on merit, says Assam BJP

Decision after performance appraisal, say leaders

Updated - August 25, 2020 11:05 pm IST

Published - August 25, 2020 06:35 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Himanta Biswa Sarma

Himanta Biswa Sarma

The BJP has told its MLAs in Assam that their renomination for the 2021 Assembly elections was not guaranteed.

The BJP has 60 legislators in the 126-member House and has set a target of winning at least 100 seats in the State polls early next year. With its two regional allies — Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People’s Front — the party had surpassed a collective target of 84 seats in 2016.

Days after State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said the party may not field many of its current MLAs, Assam Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the chances of party legislators being re-nominated would depend on the outcome of an assessment of their performance and popularity.

“Our candidates are selected through a series of assessments. Only MLAs who make the grade will be given tickets,” Dr. Sarma said on Monday evening.

Party insiders said there are at least 15 MLAs who have underperformed or have lost popularity in their respective constituencies. Most of them are from eastern and southern Assam, where the BJP had drubbed the Congress in the 2016 poll.

The “warning” to non-performing MLAs followed a move by opposition parties, led by the Congress, to form a ‘grand alliance’ for preventing the BJP from coming back to power on its own or with its regional allies.

While the Congress has been discussing a possible alliance with the All India United Democratic Front led by perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal, peasant rights group Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti has announced a new regional front. The All Assam Students’ Union too is contemplating a new political party to bat for the indigenous communities.

The AGP, meanwhile, said it will continue its alliance with the BJP to balance its brand of regionalism with nationalist sentiments. “Quitting the alliance is not an option for us, but regionalism was, is and will be our focus,” party president and Agriculture Minister Atul Bora said.

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