Top leadership in Lok Sabha poll fray: BJP out with first list of 195, PM keeps Varanasi : The Tribune India

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Top leadership in Lok Sabha poll fray: BJP out with first list of 195, PM keeps Varanasi

34 ministers, 2 ex-CMs named | 51 seats from UP, 20 Bengal

Top leadership in Lok Sabha poll fray: BJP out with first list of  195, PM keeps Varanasi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president JP Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during a party event. Tribune file photo



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, March 2

Signalling battle readiness for the coming Lok Sabha elections, the ruling BJP on Thursday declared the first list of 195 candidates fielding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the third straight time from his constituency Varanasi.

47 youth | 28 women | 27 SCs | 18 STs | 57 OBCs/BCs

Senior ministers will defend their turfs — Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will contest from his current segment Lucknow; Union Home Minister Amit Shah from Gandhinagar; Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani from Amethi; Earth Sciences Minister Kiren Rijiju from Arunachal West; MoS (PMO) Jitendra Singh from Udhampur; and Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda from the Khunti ST seat in Jharkhand.

As expected, the BJP has fielded top ministers, currently Rajya Sabha MPs, for the elections. Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya (two terms in the RS) will fight from Porbandar; Animal Husbandry Minister Purushottam Rupala, a three-term RS MP, from Rajkot; Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav (two terms in the RS) from Alwar; and MoS (IT) Rajeev Chandrashekhar (three terms in the RS) from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is the sitting Thiruvananthapuram MP having won the seat thrice in a row. Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Shipping and Ports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, both into their first Rajya Sabha terms from the BJP, have been fielded from Guna (MP) and Dibrugarh (Assam), respectively.

Sushri Bansuri Swaraj

The list of 195 includes two former Chief Ministers — Shivraj Singh Chouhan from Vidisha in MP and Biplab Deb from Tripura West. Unlike Chouhan, his former counterparts from Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — Vasundhara Raje and Raman Singh — have failed to make the LS cut as reported by The Tribune on Saturday. BJP national vice-president and Rajya Sabha MP Saroj Pandey will fight from Chhattisgarh’s Korba.

Among today’s candidates — 51 are from UP (which has 80 seats); 20 from West Bengal (42 seats); 24 from MP (29 seats); 15 from Gujarat (26 seats); 15 from Rajasthan (25 seats); 12 from Kerala (20 seats); nine from Telangana (11 seats); 11 from Assam (14 seats); all candidates in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand; five from Delhi (seven seats); two in J&K (six seats); three in Uttarakhand (five seats); two in Arunachal (two seats); and one each in Goa (two seats), Tripura (two seats), Andaman & Nicodbar Islands (one seat) and Daman and Diu (one seat).

An analysis of the list of 195 candidates across 16 states and two UTs reveals the BJP has dropped 34 — nearly 23 per cent — of its sitting MPs, including Pragya Thakur in Bhopal, ex-Union minister Jayant Sinha in Jharkhand and Uttarakhand ex-CM Tirath Singh Rawat in Garhwal. Jayant’s father Yashwant Sinha was the opposition candidate against the ruling BJP nominee Droupadi Murmu in the election for the President in 2022.

The BJP has fielded sitting MPs of other parties who recently joined its ranks, among them former Jharkhand CM Madhu Kora’s wife Geeta, who left the Congress. She will defend her current seat Singhbhum ST.

BSP’s Ambedkar Nagar MP Ritesh Pandey and BRS’ BB Patil, both sitting Lok Sabha MPs who joined the BJP, have been fielded from Ambedkar Nagar (UP) and Zahirabad (Telangana).

Of the 161 weak seats (which BJP either lost or won with thin margins in 2019) on its radar, the BJP today unveiled candidates for 46 across Kerala, Telangana, West Bengal, UP, Rajasthan, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Assam and Jharkhand. The BJP has played very safe in UP, dropping only one sitting (in Nagina SC) MP among 51 named today.

Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni, whose son Ashish had allegedly mowed down five persons, including four farmers, during the October 2021 Lakhimpur violence, finds a place in the BJP’s UP list from his current seat Kheri.

Importantly the party didn’t declare the candidate for UP’s Kaiserganj, currently represented in LS by the controversial ex WFI chief Brij Bhushan Singh. Minister and former Army chief VK Singh’s Ghaziabad seat was also not declared today nor was MP’s Chhindwara held by Congress veteran Kamal Nath’s son Nakul, who is in touch with the BJP. The list has 34 ministers and ministers of state; 28 women, which is 14.3 per cent of all candidates; 47 candidates under the age of 50; 27 SCs, 18 STs and 57 OBCs.

In the 2019 elections, the BJP had contested 436 seats of the 543, winning 303 (69 per cent). “This time, our target is 370 plus for the BJP and 400 plus for the NDA,” BJP general secretary Vinod Tawde said. He said discussion on candidates for the remaining states would happen in due course, with elections yet to be announced.

Sushma’s daughter fielded from delhi

Late BJP leader Sushma Swaraj’s daughter Bansuri Swaraj to contest from New Delhi; Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi dropped; Cong veteran AK Antony’s son Anil fielded from Kerala’s Pathanamthitta; MoS (Home) Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’, whose son is accused in Lakhimpur case, to contest from Kheri.

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#BJP #Lok Sabha #Narendra Modi


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