2019 LS polls: BJP releases first list; Modi to contest from Varanasi

New Delhi: Senior party leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party J P Nadda released the first list of 184 candidates for the coming general election yesterday. Around 30 sitting parliamentarians have been denied tickets in the first list.

In the first list, 16 are from Maharashtra, eight from Assam, two from Arunachal Pradesh, five from Chhatisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir each, 21 from Karnataka, 13 from Kerala, 10 from Odisha, 16 from Rajasthan, five from Tamilnadu, 10 from Telangana, five from Uttarakhand, 28 from West Bengal and two from Andhra Pradesh.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi will contest from Varanasi, which he represents in Parliament, BJP president Amit Shah will be fielded from Gandhinagar, in place of veteran leader L K Advani, which has come as a surprise for many. The 91-year-old party veteran had been representing Gandhinagar in the Lok Sabha since 1998.

According to media reports, the BJP believes that Shah’s candidature will signal the party president’s intent to lead from the front and energise workers, especially in Gujarat, where it is facing a resurgent Congress.

Prominent leaders of the party such as Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari will contest from Lucknow and Nagpur seats, respectively. The party is reposing its faith in all but one Union minister from the constituency they had won in 2014.

Union minister Smriti Irani has been pitted against Congress president Rahul Gandhi at Amethi. It is to be noted that Irani had lost to him in 2014.

Union ministers V K Singh, Mahesh Sharma, Kiren Rijiju, D V Sadananda Gowda, Babul Supriyo from Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Arunachal West, Bengalore North and Asansol, respectively, have been renominated.

In Uttar Pradesh 28 candidates names were announced. Union minster Krishna Raj from Shahjahanpur and Scheduled Caste (SC) Commission head and Agra MP Ram Shankar Katheria along with four others have been dropped. It is expected to drop more sitting MPs in the days ahead as it announces names of its other nominees. Actor-cum-politician Hema Malini has been renominated from Mathura.

Speaking at the press conference, Nadda said the party has also finalised names of all 17 party candidates from Bihar and sent the list to the state unit. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is likely to be fielded from Patna Sahib and his ministerial colleague Giriraj Singh from Begusarai.

The BJP has dropped former Union minister B C Khanduri from Garhwal and former Uttarakhand chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshyari from Nanital with Tirath Singh Rawat and Ajay Bhatt replacing them, respectively. Union ministers Jitendra Singh and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore will contest from Udhampur and Jaipur Rural, the seat they represent in the Lok Sabha, respectively with Baijayant Jay Panda being fielded from Kendrapara in Odisha.

Beginning on 11 April, Lok Sabha elections will continue for over a month till 19 May across seven phases. Counting of votes will take place on 23 May.

NT Bureau