Gearing up for a fierce electoral battle to retain power at the centre, the BJP appeared to have pruned the candidate list significantly. In the first list, the party has changed candidates in six constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, two in Maharashtra, four in Assam, one each in Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat and in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The BJP has already announced it will not field any sitting MPs or those who lost the 2018 assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, where the party faced a humiliating defeat in the November polls. While the party said it wanted to bring “new faces and vigour”, the five seats announced included two former MLAs and a former MP. Gomti Sai has been picked instead of four-time MP and Union Minister Vishnu Dev Sai from the Jashpur seat.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has released an initial list of 180 candidates who will be contesting elections from the party ticket. The list of names covers more than 20 states.
The names include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will once again contest from the north Indian city of Varanasi, and party president Amit Shah, who will contest from Gandhinagar in Gujarat state, replacing party stalwart LK Advani.
In Uttar Pradesh, where the NDA won 72 of the 80 seats, names to 29 were released. While most changes in UP are in constituencies dominated by Scheduled Castes and Backward Castes, Union Minister Krishna Raj, who represented Shahjahanpur, an SC-reserved constituency, was replaced by Arun Sagar. In Agra, former Union Minister Ram Shankar Katheria, who is chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, was replaced by and former Samajwadi Party leader, S P Singh Baghel.