The vast majority of the 2014 MPs will contest from their old constituencies; the Old Guard was ignored in the first list, as the sword hangs over the likes of Advani, Joshi, Khanduri and Mahajan.
In the backdrop of Holi, the saffron party released its first list of contesting candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The list with 184 candidates confirms Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rerun from Varanasi constituency. The biggest upset has been the replacement of patriarch Advani from Gandhinagar with current party president Amit Shah. Sitting Rajya Sabha MP Shah will contest for the Lok Sabha seat for the first time.
Before the outing of the list, there had been widespread speculations that BJP would field a number of new names this time round. However, the party seems to be treading carefully, with most of the candidates in the list being similar faces from 2014. Home Minister Rajnath Singh will retain his Lucknow bastion whereas Nitin Gadkari will look to continue his successful run in Nagpur. The list also names twenty women candidates including the likes of Smriti Irani (Amethi), Hema Malini (Mathura), Poonam Mahajan (North Central Mumbai) and Pritam Munde (Beed).
BJP has announced candidature for 29 of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh. Suspense is still intact around the fate of senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who had to give up his Varanasi stronghold in favour of Modi but prevailed in a new constituency winning Kanpur but 1.84 Lac votes. Joshi is on the Margdarshak Committee along with LK Advani amid indications that the elderly politicos might miss out on party tickets.
Apart from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, most eyes were fixed on BJP’s plans for Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, having recently lost state assembly elections in the three states. There had been reports that pointed out discussions where the party had been mulling whether to offer current MPs in these states to rerun in 2019. In 2014, the three states were pivotal to BJP’s rising fortune. The party had won all the 25 seats in Rajasthan, 27 of the 29 in Madhya Pradesh and 9 seats out of 11 in Chhattisgarh. The party has decided to take a risk in Chhattisgarh, where it has named five candidates, relying on new faces and denying the chance to 2014 MPs.
The party stated that although most names for Madhya Pradesh and Bihar have already been decided, it has not been able to make the announcement in the first list. This can be construed as indication of the fact that many sitting MPs might not get the opportunity to contest this time. The party, it seems, has taken notes from the setback in state assembly elections and wants to prepare for the aftermath before announcing the names.
The candidature for Rajasthan was totally different than the expected, has thrown up a lot of questions. BJP announced names of 16 nominees, re-affirming faith in the 2014 lineup by fielding 14 existing MPs for reelection. The most shocking name in the Rajasthan lineup is that of Ganganagar MP Nihal Chand. Chand was accused of sexual harassment and had subsequently been discharged during the first cabinet reshuffle of Modi’s tenure.
In Uttar Pradesh, BJP has decided to do away with six sitting MPs. Sakshi Maharaj, who had recently expressed concern regarding getting the ticket for 2019, managed to retain his Unnao seat. Maharaj had openly challenged the leadership some time back, that not giving tickets to existing high profile candidates will incur a storm that would be tough to handle for the party.
Among the changes in 2019 list, BJP has fielded Parmeshwarlal Saini in place of Satyapal Saini from Sambhal. Arjun Sagar will look to win in Shahjahanpur, having been preferred over Union Minister Krishna Raj. UP Government minister SP Baghel will replace Ramshankar Katheariya from Agra. Other changes are Rajkumar Chahar in place of Babulal from Fatehpur Sikri, Jayaprakash Rawat from Hardoi in place of Anshul, and Ashish Rawat from Mishrikh in place of Anjubala.
As per the CEC’s election dates schedule, polling in 91 constituencies from 20 states will take place in the first out of seven phases on 11th April. The second phase, which will be held on April 18 will see polling for 97 seats in 13 states. Voting for the third phase will be held on the 23rd April in 115 seats across 14 states. The fourth and fifth phases, will see votes cast in 71 constituencies in 9 states and 51 in 7 states on 29th April and 6th May respectively. The penultimate sixth phase scheduled for 12th May will see polling in 59 seats in 7 states. The 2019 elections will conclude with the seventh and final phase on the 19th of May with polling on the remaining 59 seats in 8 states. The counting of votes will be held on the 23rd May and results will be announced on the same day.
Checkout BJP’s first list of 184 Candidates here:
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