BJP Releases First List of 51 Candidates for UP, Modi to Contest from Varanasi

The Asian Age.  | Shashi Bhushan

India, Politics

The BJP has fielded defence minister Rajnath Singh from Lucknow and home minister Amit Shah from Gandhinagar

BJP leaders Baijayant Jay Panda and Vinod Tawde during the announcement of first list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections at a press conference, in New Delhi, Saturday, March 2, 2024. (PTI Photo)

NEW DELHI: The BJP on Saturday released its first list of 195 candidates for the ensuing Lok Sabha polls and fielded Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi parliamentary constituency. The BJP has fielded defence minister Rajnath Singh from Lucknow and home minister Amit Shah from Gandhinagar. The list includes 34 Union ministers, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and two former chief ministers -- Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Biplab Kumar Deb.

Announcing the list, BJP national general secretary Vinod Tawde said that among the 195 candidates, 28 are women and 47 candidates are under the age of 50.

“Among the names, 27 are from Schedule Caste (SC), 18 Schedule Tribes (ST) and 57 are from the OBCs communities,” Mr Tawde said.

The first list of BJP includes candidates for 51 seats from Uttar Pradesh, 20 from West Bengal, 24 from Madhya Pradesh, 15 each from Gujarat and Rajasthan, 12 from Kerala, nine seats from Telangana, 11 from Assam, 11 each from Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, five from Delhi, two from Jammu and Kashmir, three from Uttarakhand, two from Arunachal Pradesh and one each from Goa, Tripura, Andaman and Nicobar and Daman and Diu.

Mr Chouhan is fielded from the Vidisha Lok Sabha constituency and Mr Deb will contest from Tripura West.

Other Union ministers who have made it in the first list are Smriti Irani, Mansukh Mandaviya, Jitendra Singh, Sarbananda Sonowal, Gajendra Shekhawat, Bhupender Yadav, G. Kishan Reddy, Kiren Rijiju, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Rajeev Chandrashekhar, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Arjun Munda, Ajay Mishra Teni, S.P.S. Baghel, V. Muraleedharan, Annapurna Devi, Parshottam Rupala, Shripad Yesso, Kailash Choudhary, Ajay Bhatt, Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Mahendra Nath Pandey, Nisith Pramanik, Kaushal Kishore and Shantanu Thakur.

The BJP replaced Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi and fielded Bansuri Swaraj, daughter of former Union minister Sushma Swaraj, from the New Delhi seat. Besides Ms Lekhi, John Barla is another Union minister who has been dropped from the BJP's first list. Former Union minister Harsh Vardhan is also denied a ticket from the Chandni Chowk seat in the national capital.

Two more sitting MPs from Delhi Ramesh Bidhuri and Parvesh Verma are denied tickets. The BJP, however, has fielded Bhojpuri super star and Lok Sabha MP Manoj Tiwari from the North East Delhi constituency for the third time.

Sadhvi Pragya Thakur was also dropped from her Bhopal seat in Madhya Pradesh.

Bhojpuri singer and actor Pawan Singh has been fielded from the Asansol parliamentary seat in West Bengal.

In Uttar Pradesh, the party has fielded former BSP MP Ritesh Pandey, who recently joined the BJP, from the Ambedkar Nagar Lok Sabha seat, while Bollywood actress Hema Malini, Bhojpuri star Ravi Kishan and Dinesh Lal Yadav "Nirahua", Mahesh Sharma and Sakshi Maharaj are once again fielded from their respective seats.

In Jharkhand, former Congress MP Geeta Koda has been fielded from Singhbhum (ST reserved) and Manish Jaiswal from Hazaribagh in place of Jayant Sinha, who requested the party leadership to relieve him from electoral duty.

In Telangana, the BJP fielded sitting party MPs Bandi Sanjay Kumar and Arvind Dharmapuri B.B. Patil (who recently joined the BJP after quitting the BRS) and former minister in state government Etela Rajender.

In Chhattisgarh, the BJP named minister in state government Brihmohan Aggarwal and former MP Saroh Pandey among its candidates.

Mr Tawde also said that the BJP is confident that it will form the government for the third term under the leadership of Mr Modi with a much bigger mandate. He pointed out that the BJP is working on further expanding its footprint across various states and also strengthening the National Democratic Alliance.