New Delhi, October 1
The BJP’s Central Election Committee members, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, met here on Sunday to finalise its candidates for the coming assembly polls as the party looks to conclude much of deliberations on the contestants before the election process formally begins.
For the first time in the current round of CEC meetings, candidates for the Rajasthan polls were discussed as senior party leaders from the state, including former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, joined the national leadership in the meeting.
With the party fielding three Union ministers, besides four other MPs, as candidates in the Madhya Pradesh assembly polls, it may continue with the strategy in Rajasthan. Union ministers Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Arjun Ram Meghwal and Kailash Choudhary are from the state where the BJP won all but one of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in 2019.
Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah, besides party president J P Nadda, are among the members of the CEC.
Chhattisgarh BJP leaders, including former chief minister Raman Singh and state party chief Arun Sao, also arrived in the national capital as the CEC is expected to finalise the names for the remaining seats in the state.
Prior to Sunday’s meeting, the CEC sat twice to finalise the party candidates for the current round of state polls and had discussions on Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh seats, especially those held by the Congress, its main challenger in the two states besides Rajasthan.
The BJP has so far named 79 candidates for the polls to the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly and 21 for the elections to the 90-member House in Chhattisgarh.
The development is a break from the past as the party generally names its candidates after the Election Commission’s announcement of the poll schedule.
The advance exercise marks its decision to give candidates ample time to drive their campaigns, more so as it has so far concentrated on seats held by the Congress.
Of the five states going to polls, the BJP is in power only in Madhya Pradesh, while the Congress holds the reins in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The BRS is in power in Telangana and the Mizo National Front in Mizoram.