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BJP’s initial list for Lok Sabha elections includes both newcomers and veterans

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unveiled its first list of 195 candidates on Saturday, a fair combination of veterans and first-timers representing 16 states and two Union territories (UTs). The announcement marked the party’s aggressive start to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Names for 51 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 24 in Madhya Pradesh, 20 in West Bengal, 15 in Gujarat and Rajasthan, 12 in Kerala, 11 in Assam, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh, 9 in Telangana, 5 in Delhi, 3 in Uttarakhand, 2 in Jammu & Kashmir, and 1 in each of Goa, Tripura, Andaman & Nicobar, and Daman & Diu have all been released by the party.

Civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia from Guna, home minister Amit Shah from Gandhinagar in Gujarat, and former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan from the state’s Vidisha seat are among the 34 Union ministers and two former chief ministers placed on the list.

State of Madhya Pradesh

The BJP included well-known figures on its first list of 24 candidates for the Madhya Pradesh Lok Sabha elections, including former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and minister of civil aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia. Ten incumbent MPs, including Bhopal MP Pragya Thakur, were left off the list. Between 1991 and 2004, Chouhan represented Vidisha five times.

Meanwhile, Scindia has been fielded from his customary Guna seat. The Union minister, a Madhya Pradeshi member of the Rajya Sabha, has served four terms as a representative for this seat.

The candidates fielded from the Mandla and Satna constituencies, respectively, are Faggan Singh Kulaste and Ganesh Singh, who lost the 2023 state assembly elections. Thakur will be replaced by Alok Sharma, who lost the Bhopal North seat in the 2023 elections to Congressman Atif Aqueel.

Tickets have been issued to two new faces, Dr. Rajesh Mishra and Ashish Dubey, from Sidhi and Jabalpur, respectively.

The state of Uttar Pradesh

With the release of its first list, which includes names for 51 state seats, the BJP has placed a strong bet on incumbent MPs. Among the famous names on the list are Varanasi-born Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lucknow-born Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Mathura-born Hema Malini, Kheri-born Ajay Mishra Teni, and Amethi-born Smriti Irani.

Saket Mishra from Shrawasti, Kripa Shankar Singh from Jaunpur, and Ritesh Pandey from Ambedkarnagar are among the new names on the list.The current member of parliament, Saket Mishra, is the son of Nripendra Mishra, the head of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple Construction Committee and a former principal secretary to Prime Minister Modi.

Rajasthan

The Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla from Kota, Union law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal from Bikaner, Union junior agriculture minister Harish Chaudhary from Barmer, and Union jal shakti minister Gajendra Shekhawat from Jodhpur have all been retained in Rajasthan, where the party has announced candidates for 15 of the 25 LS seats. Bhupendra Yadav, the union minister of environment, would be running from Alwar for the first time.

For the five seats of Churu, Banswara, Jalore, Udaipur, and Bharatpur, the BJP has substituted candidates. Chief of the State BJP C P Joshi is the Chittorgarh party’s candidate. Dusyant Singh, the son of former chief minister Vasundhara Raje, will run from Jhalawar once again. Indian Paralympian Devendra Jhaharia from Churu has been nominated by the BJP.

Bengal (West)

The BJP nominated twenty candidates, including Soumendu Adhikari, the brother of Suvendu Adhikari, Pawan Singh, the star of Bhojpuri, Sukanta Majumdar, the state president of the BJP, and the central ministers, Subhash Sarkar and Santanu Thakur. Just before the 2021 assembly elections, Soumendu, a former TMC MLA, joined the BJP in January, following in his brother Suvendu’s footsteps.

John Barla, the federal minister of state for minority affairs, was replaced by Manoj Tigga, a BJP lawmaker from Madarihat and the party’s main whip in the state parliament, who was nominated from Alipurduar in north Bengal. Three women are running for office in West Bengal: Locket Chatterjee, Sreerupa Mitra Chowdhury, and Priya Saha.

As the BJP’s lawmaker from English Bazar in Malda, Chowdhury—also referred to as Nirbhoy Didi—is the party’s nominee from the same seat as Chatterjee, the MP from Hooghly. Pawan Singh, an actor and playback singer from Bhojpur, was named from the Asansol constituency. Shatrughan Sinha, an actor who entered politics, represents the TMC as an Asansol MP.

Jalpaiguri

Eleven out of the fourteen Lok Sabha seats have candidates nominated by the BJP. Seven current Members of Parliament are listed, among them are union ministers Arjun Munda from Khunti (a seat in the Indian state) and Annapurna Devi from Koderma. Jayant Sinha of Hazaribagh and Sudershan Bhagat of Lohardaga, two sitting MPs, have been removed. Samir Oroan, a member of the Rajya Sabha and the current national head of the party’s Janjati Morcha (ST Morcha), has taken Bhagat’s position in the Lohardaga (ST) seat. Manish Jaiswal, a two-term incumbent member from the Hazaribag (Sadar) assembly constituency, has taken Jayant Sinha’s position in Hazaribag. On Saturday morning, Sinha—a central minister from 2014 to 2019—posted on social media that he had asked the party head to release him from his election-related responsibilities.

Other candidates who have been re-elected from their seats include Godda’s Nishikant Dubey, Dumka’s Sunil Soren, Ranchi’s Sanjay Seth, Jamshedpur’s Bidyut Baran Mahto, and Palamu’s Vishnu Dayal Ram (SC seat). For their third terms, Nishikant, Mahto, and VD Ram would be running.

Kerala

Twelve candidates have been announced by the BJP for the twenty Lok Sabha seats in Kerala. They include MT Ramesh, a senior leader from Kozhikode; Anil Antony, a Pathanamthitta resident and the son of former defense minister and Congress veteran AK Antony; well-known Malayalam actor Suresh Gopi from the Thrissur constituency; and Union Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar from Thiruvananthapuram, who is running against Congress incumbent MP Shashi Tharoor. Pannian Ravindran, a seasoned communist leader, is also involved in the conflict from the seat.

The name of K Surendran, the state head of the BJP, was absent from the list. According to some sources, Surendran had said he would not run in the next elections. Dr. Abdul Salam, a former vice chancellor of Calicut University from Malappuram, has been nominated by the BJP. Prior to this, the BJP had put up P Abdullakutty, a fellow Muslim, in a Malappuram Lok Sabha by-election in 2021.

In Telangana

Eatala Rajender, a former state minister and prominent leader of the BJP, has been declared as the party’s nominee for the Malkajgiri parliamentary seat. The BJP central election committee announced the first list of Telangana candidates in the evening, and Rajender’s name is one of nine on the list.

The BJP now has four serving Members of Parliament; however, only three MPs, Bandi Sanjay from Karimnagar, Dharmapuri Arvind from Nizamabad, and G Kishan Reddy from Secunderabad, were retained for a second consecutive term. The party withdrew its support from Soyam Bapu Rao, the fourth sitting Member of Parliament from Adilabad.

B B Patil, a member of parliament for Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) who quit the party and just joined the BJP on Friday, has been awarded the BJP ticket from his Zaheerabad seat. Konda Vishweshwar Reddy and Bura Narsaiah Goud, two additional former BRS MPs, have been granted tickets for the Chevella and Bhongir parliamentary seats.

Tripura and Assam

On Saturday, the BJP announced its candidates for one seat in Tripura and 11 of the 14 Assam seats. Allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) are contesting three seats in Assam.

Sarbananda Sonowal, a former Union minister and chief minister, has been selected as the Dibrugarh contender.

Biplab Kumar Deb, a former chief minister of Tripura, has been announced as the contender for the West Lok Sabha seat. Deb is a Rajya Sabha MP at the moment.

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