New Delhi: In a bid to stake claim to nominations for the upcoming Delhi assembly elections, many of the 67 BJP candidates who had fought the December 2013 poll are conducting surveys in their constituencies to sense the mood of the voters and the likelihood of their victory, party sources said.
The candidates, especially those who won or lost by a narrow margin, have hired private companies for the job, hoping to get positive feedback which will then strengthen their chances of getting another shot at fighting the election when the party starts distributing tickets, a leader told IANS, refusing to be identified.
The development comes in the wake of reports that the central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to replace some candidates who hadn`t performed in the December 2013 elections or are considered "too old" by the party, especially after Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly laid stress on wooing the country`s youth with younger politicians.
"If the results are positive, then the candidate has a valid claim to ask for a ticket as he can show that he has the support of the local population," said the source adding that each survey costs "a few thousand rupees".
Of the 70 BJP candidates that contested the December 2013 poll in Delhi, 31 managed to register a win while three were later elected as parliamentarians in the April-May general election. At least half-a-dozen seats in Delhi witnessed a close contest between the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party.
According to the sources, the surveys are being done by candidates irrespective of whether they had won or lost the last election.
"The candidates who lost last time blamed the strong AAP wave, but they feel that things have changed in the last one year and now they might have a chance to reclaim their constituencies," the sources said.
"Hence, those who lost are definitely favouring the surveys, hopeful of getting positive feedback. But even if they don`t, they can always remain quiet and hope that the party`s central leadership will favour them owing to their aura in a particular seat," said a source in the know about the surveys being carried out.
BJP leader and South Delhi MP Ramesh Bidhuri said that the surveys were helpful in testing the waters and there was no harm if a candidate is getting them conducted.
"Just like you prepare for an exam, these surveys give candidates a clear picture of where they stand. So, there`s nothing wrong in it. After all, the media too does its own surveys after every poll," Bidhuri told IANS though he refused "any knowledge" about the surveys.
However, there is a question mark on whether the central leadership will give weightage to the surveys.
"Data to prove your popularity does help one`s case, but how much importance the central leadership will give to these surveys is debatable," said another leader.
Moreover, if one candidate gets a survey done, others automatically follow suit because they don`t want to risk their chances for a few thousand rupees, the leader added.