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BJP Set to Release First List of Candidates for Lok Sabha Polls

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to release its first list of candidates over the weekend after the marathon meeting of the party’s central election committee (CEC) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ended in the early hours of Friday. The first list is likely to feature some high-profile names seeking another term, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as well as seats perceived as “tough”.

Early announcement of the candidates is aimed at ensuring enough time for nominees to campaign for their election while sending out the message of the BJP being a disciplined party, according to people aware of the matter.

People quoted above said that a similar strategy worked for the BJP in Madhya Pradesh where it announced 39 candidates for what were considered the toughest seats over three months before the polls last year.

Also Read: BJP MP Gautam Gambhir asks JP Nadda to relieve ‘me of political duties’

According to party sources, the late-night CEC meeting discussed 50 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, around half of which the BJP is likely to announce its candidates on.

BJP’s ally Apna Dal (Sone Lal Patel) is expected to get two seats, Jayant Chaudhary’s Rashtriya Lok Dal to get two seats in Western Uttar Pradesh, Om Prakash Rajbhar’s SPBSP one seat, and Sanjay Nishad’s party one seat.

A report by news agency ANI citing top BJP sources claimed that Union minister Jitender Singh will contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls from his current Udhampur seat while incumbent Jugal Kishor Sharma will be fielded from Jammu.

Former Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, BJP leader Prahlad Patel, and BJP’s state president VD Sharma were present at the CEC meeting, where discussions regarding the names of candidates for all 29 seats in Madhya Pradesh were reportedly held.

Candidates for four to five seats in Telangana were discussed at the meeting and are expected to be named in the first list. Three sitting MPs, G. Kishan Reddy, Bandi Sanjay Kumar, and Arvind Dharmapuri are likely to get the ticket.

Former cricketer Gautam Gambhir’s request to the BJP national president JP Nadda, that too within 48 hours of the CEC meeting, to “relieve” him from “political” duties has almost confirmed that the saffron party will field someone else from the East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency.

“I have requested Hon’ble Party President J P Nadda ji to relieve me of my political duties so that I can focus on my upcoming cricket commitments. I sincerely thank Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi ji and Hon’ble HM Amit Shah ji for giving me the opportunity to serve the people. Jai Hind!” Gambhir said in a social media post.

PM Modi has set a target of 400 for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in this year’s Lok Sabha elections, with the saffron party targeting to win more than 370 seats on its own.

There will be another round of CEC meetings in the coming days.

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