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Business News/ Politics / News/  Lok Sabha Polls 2024 : Five takeaways from the first BJP candidate list
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Lok Sabha Polls 2024 : Five takeaways from the first BJP candidate list

Of the 195 leaders fielded by BJP in the first list announced on Saturday, 51 are from Uttar Pradesh, 20 from West Bengal and five from Delhi. The list includes 28 women, 47 leaders under the age of 50 and 57 members from the OBC community.

BJP leaders Baijayant Jay Panda, Vinod Tawde and Anil Baluni during the announcement of first list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections at a press conference (PTI)Premium
BJP leaders Baijayant Jay Panda, Vinod Tawde and Anil Baluni during the announcement of first list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections at a press conference (PTI)

The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) released the names of 195 candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections here in the national capital on March 2.

The first list of 195 candidates features high-profile names such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi who will again contest from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Union Home Minister Amit Shah who will contest from Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

While at least 42 of the candidates who were elected to Parliament in 2019, have been replaced with new names, the party has also fielded at least seven ministers, who are currently Rajya Sabha members.

Of the 195 leaders, 51 are from Uttar Pradesh, 20 from West Bengal and five from Delhi. The first BJP candidate list includes 28 women, 47 leaders under the age of 50, and 57 members from the OBC community.

Here are five takeaways from the first list announced by the BJP.

1- First-mover Advantage

The BJP's list of 195 names comes days before the dates of Lok Sabha polls 2024 - to be held in April-May - are announced by the Election Commission of India (ECI). This at a time when many parties with the opposition's INDIA bloc are striving to arrive at a seat-sharing formula in some states. Announcing names before the dates are announced, gives candidates time to prepare for the polls in advance.

2- Image Makeover in Delhi

The BJP has fielded four new faces in the candidates for five seats that it announced on Saturday. For now, the BJP has not fielded sitting members of parliament such as Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi, former Union Minister Harsh Vardhan, South Delhi MP Ramesh Bidhuri and West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma.

Follow Live Updates on BJP candidate list Lok Sabha 2024 Here

Analysts said the decision to field new faces in Delhi comes from the fact that the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress party are contesting the Lok Sabha elections in the national capital as part of alliance. The BJP is clearly experimenting in Delhi and giving a tough fight to INDIA bloc parties, they said.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of 370 seats. We need to fight each and every seat to meet that target," said a BJP leader who did not want to be named.

3- Winnability of UP's Old Guard

While Delhi witnessed change in candidates, as many 46 sitting members of parliament (MP) have been repeated among the names of 51 candidates announced by the BJP from Uttar Pradesh.

Also Read : BJP's first list out : Four new faces to contest Lok Sabha 2024 polls in Delhi

Although 29 remaining names will come in forthcoming lists, but first list from UP clearly shows that the BJP doesn't want to experiment in the politically crucial Hindi heartland state, which sends 80 - the highest among all states - MPs to Lok Sabha. 

In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP had won 62 of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh. The high-profile candidates from UP that have been retained include PM Modi (Varanasi), Rajnath Singh (Lucknow) and Smriti Irani (Amethi).

Among other re-nominated names include Ajay Mishra Teni, the Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni, whose son Ashish's name was involved when a vehicle mowed down farmers during the 2020-21 farmers protest in Lakhimpur Kheri. Teni will contest from Lakhimpur Kheri seat in UP. The controversy notwithstanding, the BJP won all the eight seats of Lakhimpur Kheri district, in 2022 UP assembly polls.

Despite criticism for abandoning her seat, actor-turned-politician Hema Malini is another candidate who has been retained from Mathura in the first list announced on Saturday

4- Mission South

The BJP has fielded Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar from Kerala's Thiruvananthapuram, a high-profile constituency held by senior Congress Leader Shashi Tharoor for three terms. The BJP has seemingly set up a possible high-stake contest in Thiruvananthapuram, unless, Tharoor is not fielded again. 

This is also first time will be the first Lok Sabha contest for Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who is the Minister of State for Information Technology and Skill Development. 

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan will contest from Attingal seat in Kerala. Anil Antony, son of veteran Congress leader AK Antony, will contest from Pathanamthitta in Kerala, too.

The BJP failed to win even a single seat of the 12 seats in Kerala in 2019.

The decisions are also in line with BJP's Mission South where it has not been doing well, except in Karnataka. Of the 127 seats in five southern states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana and Lakshadweep, the BJP could win only 29 in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Of these, 25 came from Karnataka and four from Telangana- both states now under Congress rule.

5- Focus on Youth, Women Power and OBCs

The list of 195 candidates released by BJP has 57 members, about 30 percent, represent the OBC community, while 47 leaders, 24 percent, are under the age of 50 and 57. As many as 28, which is 14 per cent, are women candidates.

The BJP is clearly showing its faith in young and women candidates despite keeping 370-seats target for 2024 Lok Sabha polls, according to analysts. Introducing the Women's Reservation Bill was a significant move by the BJP government ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections, apart from many initiatives to woo women voters.

The BJP's OBC outreach is also significant considering Opposition's pitch for a caste survey ahead of Lok Sabha poll campaign.

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Published: 02 Mar 2024, 09:21 PM IST
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