Mumbai: With an eye on retaining power in Maharashtra, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis have decided to replace at least 45 ‘weak’ legislators in the 2019 state assembly poll. According to disgruntled BJP leaders, distributing ‘report’ cards based on performance, with instructions to keep the contents a secret, has raised doubts in the minds of voters about their representatives. Now, the ones with poor grades stand exposed, making it easy for Fadnavis and Shah to finalise candidates.
According to sources, more than 45 of the total 121 legislators and more than six Members of Parliament (MPs) find themselves in the ‘danger’ zone of the survey conducted by a Delhi agency three months ago. At a meeting of the party’s MPs and MLAs held on Tuesday at ‘Vasant Smruti’, BJP’s Mumbai office in Dadar, Fadnavis reportedly handed over a sealed envelope to every elected attendee and instructed them to open these at home.
A party insider claimed, “Shah and Fadnavis want to replace a few ‘weak’ sitting legislators. The report card has clearly indicated whose performance has been poor. Fadnavis has given them a three-month deadline to improve their performance. But three months is hardly sufficient time, they will be replaced.”
“Fadnavis might not have wanted to ruin his relations with ‘weak’ MLAs, so he camouflaged his intentions by handing out report cards,” said the insider. Meanwhile, the report cards of several MLAs have indicated, Muslim voters are never going to vote for the BJP, so the focus must be on Maratha and Dalit voters.