The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its first list of 184 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP achieved an absolute majority, winning 282 seats out of 543. Along with its allies, the NDA had a cumulative strength of 336. The Congress’ strength was down to 44, its worst performance in general elections.
As per the announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will contest the Lok Sabha election from Varanasi, the seat he represents in Parliament, and BJP president Amit Shah will fight from Gandhinagar. BJP heavyweights such as home minister Rajnath Singh and road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari have been fielded from Lucknow and Nagpur seats respectively with the party reposing its faith in all but one Union minister from the constituency they had won in 2014.
Union Minister Smriti Irani has been renominated from Amethi and will take on Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The BJP announced its candidates from many states, including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh, and Tripura.
The biggest surprise in the first list is dropping of Advani, the 91-year-old party stalwart who called the shots in the BJP for decades, from Gandhinagar and Shah's decision to make his lok sabha poll debut.
The polling will be held on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19 for 543 Lok Sabha seats across the country in which nearly 90 crore voters would be eligible to vote.