Lok Sabha polls: BJP releases first list of 54 candidates

The Bharatiya Janata Party released its first list of candidates for the upcoming General Elections on Thursday.

Zee Media Bureau/Manisha Singh

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party released its first list of candidates for the upcoming General Elections on Thursday. Candidates for five states have been finalised in the first list.

While 16 candidates have been cleared from Maharashtra, 17 candidates have been cleared from West Bengal. Two candidates each from Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Manipur and six from Odisha has been finalised. Three candidates have been named from Himachal Pradesh and five from J&K. In all 54 candidates have been zeroed in.

Former BJP president Nitin Gadkari has been fielded from Nagpur, Gopinath Munde from Beed, Dilip Gandhi from Ahmadnagar, Kirit Somaiya from Mumbai North East and Gopal Shetty from Mumbai North. Interestingly BJP has never won from Nagpur. In HP Shanta Kumar has been fielded from Kangra and Anurag Thakur, sitting MP, from Hamirpur.

The party has nominated two Muslim candidates in Jammu and Kashmir, Gulam Mohammad Mir in Baramulla and Mushtaq Ahmad Malik Nurabadi in Anantnag constituencies.

BJP`s top leadership met today at a meeting of its Central Election Committee. Senior party leaders LK Advani, Rajnath Singh, Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Murli Manohar Joshi among others attended the meet.

Narendra Modi is BJP`s PM candidate for the Lok Sabha polls. The polls are speculated to be held in April and May, with the new government expected to be formed in May.

However, no announcement was made as to where Modi will contest from. Reports have been doing the rounds that he may contest from either Varanasi or Lucknow constituency. To be noted is the fact that senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi won from Varanasi from 2009.

Meanwhile, in a significant development, BJP and LJP alliance was finalised today evening. Addressing the press at his home BJP president Rajnath Singh said that the BJP had decided to give 7 out of 40 seats in Bihar for the Lok Sabha polls. On his part Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan said that Modi was NDA`s PM candidate and that it was a question which need not be put to him again.
Paswan also said that the NDA was like a family and hoped that the alliance would form the next government at the Centre. LJP was part of the NDA camp during Atal Bihari Vajpayee`s regime. He quit the NDA a month or so after the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Earlier, LJP was in talks with Lalu Prasad Yadav`s RJD and the Congress for an alliance in Bihar. However, the talks did not materialise because the LJP was reportedly unhappy about the number of seats that has been offered to it in Bihar by both the parties.