An Honourable Exit? Why Two BJP MPs Said They Don't Want To Contest Again

The BJP is following a lengthy process to decide on the candidate for each constituency.

New Delhi:

In Indian politics, where there is intense competition for tickets from any party that has a chance of winning, sitting MPs declaring that they do not want to contest again is rare. So, when two BJP MPs said – within hours of each other – today that they would like to be “relieved” of their political duties, it took many by surprise.

Sources have told NDTV, however, that the well-oiled election machinery of the BJP, which has conducted extensive surveys and held long deliberations on every Lok Sabha seat, had already decided not to repeat Gautam Gambhir and Jayant Sinha. 

In a post on X around 10 am today, Gautam Gambhir, the BJP MP from East Delhi, said, “I have requested Hon’ble Party President @JPNadda ji to relieve me of my political duties so that I can focus on my upcoming cricket commitments.”

Less than five hours later, Jayant Sinha, who represents Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh in the Lok Sabha, made a nearly identical post. “I have requested Hon’ble Party President Shri @JPNadda
 ji to relieve me of my direct electoral duties so that I can focus my efforts on combating global climate change in Bharat and around the world,” he posted on X.

Both leaders also thanked the party’s leadership, including PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, for the opportunities provided to them.

Gautam Gambhir is a first-time MP, while Jayant Sinha, son of former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha had been elected from Hazaribagh twice in a row. Sources indicated that both MPs were not very popular in their constituencies and the BJP, which has set itself a target of winning a mammoth 370 seats, had decided not to repeat them.

“In Delhi, where the party had won all seven Lok Sabha seats in 2019, the party is looking for new faces,” said a source. 

The decision followed a lengthy, detailed process, which included getting feedback from the people in every constituency, conducting internal evaluations, and hiring survey agencies to file comprehensive reports. These were followed by deliberations by the state leadership and the national brass. 

Sources said the national leadership had made it clear that the MPs whose performance was not up to the mark would not be repeated and that at least 60 incumbent MPs could face this fate. 

On Thursday night, a five-hour meeting had been held in New Delhi, which was chaired by Prime Minister Modi and attended by Mr Shah and Mr Nadda, among others. The meeting, which began at 11 pm and ended at 4 am, had also focused on constituencies that the party hadn’t done well in. The idea was to announce the names of the candidates even before the poll dates are out, so that they get enough time to reach out to the voters in their respective candidates. 

The first list of the candidates is expected to be released later today.


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