The ruling BJP in Gujarat might replicate the ”no-repeat” experiment it tried recently while replacing the entire cabinet and the chief minister in the next year’s state Assembly polls as well with state BJP chief CR Paatil hinting that the saffron party would field at least 100 new faces in the contest.
In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, BJP enjoys a majority with 112 seats. Paatil, while addressing BJP workers in Himmatnagar town in north Gujarat on Monday, indicated that at least 30 sitting MLAs would ”retire” the next year and make way for new faces.
”See, we have to find 70 new faces (for seats which are not with BJP at present). In addition, some sitting MLAs will also retire. Thus, in all, you will see at least 100 new faces for the upcoming Assembly polls in 2022,” said Paatil, the BJP MP from Navsari seat.
Paatil’s statement came weeks after BJP brass replaced the entire Gujarat cabinet along with chief minister Vijay Rupani, in what is called a ”no-repeat” experiment. In a surprise move, the BJP picked Bhupendra Patel, a first-time MLA, as the new CM of Gujarat. Paatil was in Himmatnagar town on Monday to attend a programme of distributing ID cards to BJP’s Panna Pramukhs or page presidents.
A ‘panna pramukh’ is appointed from among voters in the respective list. They are tasked with motivating and coordinating voters from their respective areas to exercise their franchise. Offering a glimpse of BJP’s likely strategy for the polls, due in December next year, Paatil said neither he will remain the MP nor Rajendrasinh Chavda the Himmatnagar MLA. Chavda and several other leaders of BJP were present on the occasion.
”I want workers of our party to take a pledge to ensure BJP’s victory (in elections). The BJP gives opportunities to workers based on their performance. BJP workers never crib for not getting anything for years. Even if they don’t get a ticket, our workers get back to work to ensure the victory of those who were chosen by the party,” said Paatil.
He appealed to ministers, senior BJP leaders and elected representatives to prioritise the work suggested by the party workers. ”Do not ignore party workers. You should not put his file in the corner without even looking at it. Party workers are our real strength. I will not tolerate if a worker would complain that his work was not done,” warned Paatil. In 2017 polls, the ruling BJP scraped through to retain power by winning 99 seats, a loss of 16 seats it had won in the previous election. On the other hand, Congress improved its tally by 16 seats to reach 77.