At least five of the seven sitting BJP MPs from Assam are unlikely to get party ticket for contesting the Lok Sabha polls slated for April-May.
BJP insiders privy to the development said the party is mulling axing at least five sitting MPs for the polls to tide over anti-incumbency.
Sources said the BJP parliamentary board has decided to drop five sitting MPs – Ramen Deka from Mangaldai, Rajen Gohain from Nagaon, Kamakhya Prasad Tasa from Jorhat, Bijoya Chakravarty from Guwahati and RP Sharma from Tezpur.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the saffron party had bagged 7 of 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state on the back of a strong (Narendra) Modi wave.
The BJP is likely to release the first list of candidates on Tuesday. According to media reports, the party has decided to field Queen Ojha in Guwahati replacing Bijoya Chakravarty.
Similarly, in Mangaldai constituency, Dilip Saikia will be replaced by sitting MP Ramen Deka.
On the other hand, the party has decided to field state power minister Tapan Gogoi in Jorhat in place of Kamakhya Prasad Tasa.
Junior railway minister Rajen Gohain, who was accused of raping a woman, will be replaced by MLA Rupak Sharma in Nagaon.
Sources said union minister Gohain made a plea to nominate his wife in his place in Nagaon but party top brass reportedly rejected the proposal.
Besides them, the other candidates reportedly finalised by the party are Pradan Baruah for Lakhimpur, Rameswar Teli for Dibrugarh, Rajdeep Roy for Silchar, Kripanath Mallah for Karimganj and Haren Singh Bey for Diphu.
The BJP has already announced its decision to give three seats–Barpeta, Dhubri and Kaliabor–to the AGP and Kokrajhar seat to the BPF.
Sources said the party has not yet been able to finalise candidate for Tezpur constituency. Although finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma expressed his desire to contest from Tezpur, party president Amit Shah has reportedly asked him not to contest this election and concentrate on strengthening the party’s base in the Northeast.
The party central leadership has reportedly sought fresh names from the State leadership for the Tezpur seat.
Sitting BJP MP RP Sharma resigned from the party on Saturday apparently over the non-inclusion of his name in the probable list of party candidates for the ensuing polls.
A meeting was convened at chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s official residence in New Delhi on Sunday where state party president Ranjeet Kumar Dass, minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, national general secretaries Mahendra Singh and Ajay Jamwal and other party leaders were present to work out a fresh panel of names in some constituencies, Assam Tribune reported.