LS Poll: Modi Will Contest from Varanasi, Raj Nath Singh From Lucknow, Amit Shah From Gandhi Nagar & Smriti Irani Is Fielded For Amethi

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi will seek re- election to the Lok Sabha from Varanasi, Home Minister Raj Nath Singh from Lucknow, BJP president Amit Shah will replace Lal Krishna Advani in Gandhi Nagar and Textile Minister Smriti Irani is being pitted against AICC President Rahul Gandhi in Amethi. They are among the first list of   184 candidates announced by the party in New Delhi on March 21. Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari will  contest Nagpur seats which he now represents in the outgoing 16th Lok Sabha .Senior party leader J P Nadda released the list at a press conference on the auspicious day of Holi following three marathon meetings of its central election committee (CEC).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 Amit  Shah, a Rajya  Sabha Member from Gujarat has decided to make his Lok Sabha poll debut from there. Advani has been representing Gandhinagar in the Lok Sabha since 1998 and Shah was incidentally his poll manager in initial elections. The BJP also re-nominated Union ministers V K Singh, Mahesh Sharma, Kiren Rijiju, D V Sadananda Gowda, Babul Supriyo from Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Arunachal West, Bengaluru North and Asansol, respectively. They had won from the same seats in 2014.The party announced names of its 28 candidates from Uttar Pradesh and dropped six incumbent MPs, including Union minster Krishna Raj from Shahjahanpur and Scheduled Caste (SC) Commission head and Agra MP Ram Shankar Katheria. It has re-nominated former cine star Hema Malini from Mathura from where she was elected in 2014. It is locked in a tough battle with the SP-BSP alliance in the state and is expected to drop more sitting MPs in the days ahead as it announces names of its other nominees. UP sends the highest number of Lok Sabha MPs, 80, to the House and the BJP had won 71 of them in 2014.Nadda said the party has also finalised names of all 17 party candidates from Bihar and sent the list to the state unit which will announce it jointly with allies – JD(U) and Lok Jansatta Party. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is likely to be fielded from Patna Sahib and his ministerial colleague Giriraj Singh from Begusarai. In the first list of 184 candidates, 16 are from Maharashtra, eight from Assam, two from Arunachal Pradesh, five from Chhattisgarh and Jammu and Kashmir each, 21 from Karnataka, 13 from Kerala, 10 from Odisha, 16 from Rajasthan, five from Tamil Nadu, 10 from Telangana, five from Uttarakhand, 28 from West Bengal and two from Andhra Pradesh. The BJP has dropped former Union minister Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri from Garhwal and former Uttarakhand chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshyari from Nanital with Tirath Singh Rawat and Ajay Bhatt replacing them respectively. Union ministers Jitendra Singh and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore will contest from Udhampur and Jaipur Rural, the seat they represent in the Lok Sabha, respectively with Baijayant Jay Panda being fielded from Kendrapara in Odisha. Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and continue for over a month till May 19 across seven phases, followed by counting of votes on May 23.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. Meanwhile, BJP’s North—east strategist Himant Biswa Sarma has announced that he is not interested in contesting for Lok Sabha Poll.

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