New Delhi: In no mood to lose ground to the AAP ahead of the Delhi assembly elections, the BJP is likely to replace around 10 of its "non-performing" candidates who had won the December 2013 poll but who lagged in spending their constituency development funds.
According to a party source, an internal report on the performance of the 29 MLAs, including the lone Akali Dal candidate, who had won last year's election, has been submitted to the Bharatiya Janata Party's central leadership.
Each Delhi legislator annually gets Rs.4 crore (MLALAD Fund) to spend in their constituencies on various infrastructure works which include speed-breakers, security gates, toilets, roads in unauthorised colonies and slums clusters to installing closed-circuit cameras.
"The internal report is based on MLALAD funds spent by each BJP MLA. The report has found there are some who have been sluggish in doing works out of the fund," said the source, not wishing to be identified.
"A few senior party leaders have studied the report in detail and around 8 to 10 candidates who have not performed in the last 10 months are set to lose their tickets," the source, close to a senior central BJP leader, told IANS, refusing to give out any names.
The BJP had won 31 of the 70 seats in the assembly elections held in December 2013, which threw up a fractured mandate. It also has the support of an Akali Dal legislator.
Three of the BJP legislators were elected to the Lok Sabha in the April-May general election, reducing the BJP's tally to 28.
According to another source, the party is treading cautiously in Delhi due to the threat of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which came a close second in last year's poll, winning 28 seats.
"If we can prepare a report, the AAP too would have been closely scrutinising the performance of all our MLAs in the city. We know that they are doing it. Therefore, the weak links need to be removed," the source told IANS.
The BJP and the Congress have traditionally held sway in Delhi. This changed last year when the AAP contested the assembly elections and pulled off a stunning performance. In comparison to the BJP's 31 seats, the Congress got just eight seats.
This year, the BJP won all the seven Lok Sabha seats in the capital. The AAP finished second in all seven constituencies. The Congress either finished third or fourth.
In the recently concluded state polls in Haryana and Maharashtra too, the party again registered impressive victories and hence wants to stretch its winning streak in Delhi where it has remained out of power for 16 years.
"There was a reason that elections were delayed for so long in Delhi. Every aspect was being looked into by the central leadership - from the right candidates to issues that will fetch the maximum votes. A lot of planning has been done," the source told IANS.
President's rule was imposed in the capital Feb 17 and after remaining in suspended animation for over eight months, the Delhi assembly was finally dissolved Nov 5 paving the way for fresh elections. The poll dates are yet to be announced.
Meanwhile, Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay has said that candidates who lost by a narrow margin in the last election will get the first priority when tickets are distributed.
"The candidates who lost by a narrow margin in the last assembly election will be given priority while distributing tickets," Upadhyay had said.
The BJP candidate from Delhi Cantonment, Karan Singh Tanwar, was defeated by AAP's Surender Singh by a mere 355 votes.
Similarly, BJP leader Jai Prakash was defeated by AAP's Som Dutt in Sadar Bazar by 796 votes while another close contest was witnessed for the Sangam Vihar seat, where AAP candidate Dinesh Mohaniya beat the BJP's Shiv Charan Lal Gupta by 777 votes.
The Vikas Puri seat too saw a tough fight between AAP's Mahinder Yadav and BJP's Krishan Gahlot and finally, it was Yadav who emerged the winner, beating Gahlot by a margin of 405 votes.
However, two seats where the BJP managed to register a win but not by an impressive margin are also under the scanner of the central leadership.
The first seat is R.K. Puram, where BJP's Anil Kumar Sharma defeated AAP's Shazia Ilmi by 326 votes. Ilmi had quit the party following the general election.
Similarly, the BJP candidate from Rajinder Nagar, R.P. Singh, defeated AAP's Vijender Garg Vijay by 1,796 votes.
"The state unit is being consulted to come up with the list of candidates who would be able to perform well. But as of now, no names have been finalized," said the source.