BJP releases first list of 184 candidates: Modi from Varanasi, Shah replaces Advani

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BJP's first list

Significant names in BJP’s first list: Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi, Amit Shah instead of LK Advani from Gandhinagar, Smriti Irani to fight Rahul Gandhi again

Most ministers and sitting MPs have been retained

New Delhi: The BJP released its first list of 184 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections on Thursday. Predictably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is contesting from Varanasi. A significant omission is that of party patriarch LK Advani. He will no longer fight from Gandhinagar after winning the seat on several occasions with the backing of Modi when the latter was the Gujarat chief minister. BJP president Amit Shah takes that seat to contest.

Senior BJP leader JP Nadda released the first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections at a press conference. He said a meeting of the BJP central election committee was held on 16, 19 and 20 March. There was a discussion on different states one by one. Prime Minister Modi and BJP president Shah participated in the meeting, Nadda told reporters.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh will fight from his good old Lucknow seat while Nitin Gadkari will be the candidate from Nagpur.

Smriti Irani will contest from Amethi. She had caused a drastic fall in the victory margin of Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the 2014 election.

The BJP has announced candidates from the states Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.

Mahesh Sharma has been re-nominated from Gautam Buddha Nagar (NOIDA); Sanjeev Balyan gets Muzaffarnagar; Gen VK Singh has Ghaziabad again as Satya Pal Singh is repeated from Baghpat too.

Hema Malini gets Mathura again as Sakshi Maharaj is repeated from Unnao.

One Union minister who couldn’t make it was Krishna Raj. Arun Sagar is the BJP candidate from Shahjahanpur.

The names of candidates for five seats from Chhattisgarh have been declared. These include Baiduram Kashyap from Bastar.

Kiren Rijiju has been given the ticket from Arunachal East.

Prahalad Joshi has been nominated for Dharwad.

Kummanam Rajasekharan from Thiruvananthapuram will take on the Congress’s Shashi Tharoor.

Dr Jitendra Singh has been given the ticket from Jammu & Kashmir’s Udhampur.

Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda has been given the ticket for Kendrapara of Odisha.

P Radhakrishnan will contest from Kanyakumari.

Other important names are Gajendra Singh Shekhawat from Jodhpur in Rajasthan, Arjun Ram Meghwal from Bikaner and Dushyant Singh from Jhalawar. In the list of candidates for the Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan, a new name has emerged. For the Jhunjhunu seat, the BJP nominated Narendra Khichad while, for Ajmer, their candidate is Bhagirath Chaudhary.

Union minister Babul Supriyo will fight in Asansol again while West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh will contest from Medinipur. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grand-nephew Chandra Kumar Bose will contest from South Kolkata. Former top cop Bharati Ghosh, who had recently irked Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee she was once close to, has got the BJP ticket for Ghatal.

Nadda said that the BJP has finalized the names of all 17 candidates of Bihar from Bihar and the list has been sent to the State unit, which will be announced with the coalition partners.

The Lok Sabha elections to be held in seven phases will start on 11 April and will run till 19 May. Counting will take place on 23 May.

The Lok Sabha election will take place across the country on these dates: 11, 18, 23 and 29 April, and 6, 12, and 19 May.