The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday announced its first list of 184 candidates for the Lok Sabha election; fielding Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the holy town of Varanasi, replacing veteran LK Advani with party president Amit Shah in Gandhinagar, repeating Home Minister Rajnath Singh from Lucknow and pitching union minister Smriti Irani against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in Amethi.
Several 75-plus leaders, including Advani and others such as Guwahati MP Bijoya Chakravarty, Garhwal MP BC Khanduri and Nainital MP Bhaga Singh Koshyari did not figure in the BJP’s first list.
There was no announcement about the fate of veteran Murli Manohar Joshi who is the sitting MP from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Union minister Kalraj Mishra, too, announced that he will not contest the election this time.
“We have also finalised the name of 17 candidates for Bihar, and an announcement will be made at a later date along with the list of our two other allies,” senior BJP leader JP Nadda said at a press conference here. A BJP leader said that three partners of the NDA in Bihar will jointly release the list of all 40 candidates in Patna on Friday.
The party cleared the names for 28 Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state, and denied ticket to six MPs, including union minister Krishna Raj. The BJP-led alliance won 73 out of 80 Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh in the previous election.
Union ministers VK Singh (Ghaziabad) Mahesh Sharma (Gautam Buddha Nagar) and Satyapal Singh (Baghpat) are prominent among those who got ticket, besides star-politician Hema Malini (Mathura) and Sakhi Maharaj (Unnao).
Names were also cleared for 16 parliamentary constituencies of Maharashtra, fielding union minister Nitish Gadkari from Nagpur and youth wing chief Poonam Mahajan from Mumbai north-central. The BJP had announced last month a 25:23 seat-sharing pact with ally Shiv Sena.