New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will contest the Lok Sabha election from Varanasi, the seat he represents in Parliament, BJP president Amit Shah will fight from Gandhinagar in place of veteran leader L.K. Advani as the party on Thursday announced its first list of 184 candidates for the general election.
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.
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).
Union minister and fiery leader Smriti Irani will reprise her electoral battle with Congress president Rahul Gandhi from Amethi, where she had lost to him in 2014 but was seen to have put up a spirited fight.
The biggest surprise in the first list is dropping of Mr Advani, the 91-year-old party stalwart who called the shots in the BJP for decades before Mr Modi’s rise eclipsed him, from Gandhinagar and Mr Shah’s decision to make his Lok Sabha poll debut from there.
Mr Advani has been representing Gandhinagar in the Lok Sabha since 1998 and Mr Shah was incidentally his poll manager in initial elections.
The party announced names of its 28 candidates from Uttar Pradesh and dropped six incumbent MPs, including Union minster Krishna Raj from Shahjahanpur and SC Commission head and Agra MP Ram Shankar Katheria....