The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday announced 112 more candidates for the Lok Sabha polls.
Among the surprises, it decided to support independent candidate Sumanlatha, widow of Congress leader and actor Ambareesh, on the Mandya Lok Sabha seat in Karnataka. She will face Nikhil Gowda of the Janata Dal (Secular), grandson of former prime minister H D Deve Gowda.
The BJP central election committee, which met Friday evening, fielding Himachal Pradesh minister Kishan Kapoor from the Kangra seat, replacing sitting MP and senior leader Shanta Kumar. It is consistent with the party not fielding leaders who are above 75-years, including L K Advani. Kumar is 84.
It also replaced Virendra Kashyap, its sitting MP from Shimla, with ex-serviceman Suresh Kashyap. The BJP had won all four of Himachal Pradesh’s seats in 2014. It retained its sitting MPs on the other two seats. Ramswaroop Sharma will contest from Mandi and Anurag Thakur from Hamirpur.
The BJP announced 10 of its 14 candidates in Jharkhand, retaining civil aviation minister Jayant Sinha from his Hazaribagh seat. From Khunti seat, it replaced senior leader and sitting MP Karia Munda with former chief minister Arjun Munda. Kariya Munda is 82.
At the meeting, the leadership acknowledged a letter from senior leader Uma Bharti stating that she would not like to contest elections, and appointed a vice-president of the party.
The party announced 15 candidates in Gujarat, retaining 14 of its sitting MPs. It replaced its Surendranagar MP Devjibhai Govindbhai Fatepara and fielding Mahendra Munjpara, who is a well-known local doctor. It had earlier announced that party chief Amit Shah will replace Advani on the Gandhinagar Lok Sabha seat. The BJP had won all 26 of Gujarat’s Lok Sabha seats in 2014.
In Goa, it has retained both its sitting MPs, including union minister and MP from North Goa Shripad Yesso Naik. The BJP announced 15 of its candidates in Madhya Pradesh. The state has 29 Lok Sabha seats, and BJP had won 27 of these in 2014.
The party has moved union minister Narendra Singh Tomar from his sitting seat of Gwalior to Morena. It dropped its sitting MPs in Bhind, Shahdol, Ujjain and Betul.
Until now, the BJP has declared 286 of its candidates. Earlier in the day, it released its third, fourth and fifth lists. The third list had 36 names, including that of party spokesperson Sambit Patra, who will contest from Odisha’s Puri constituency.
The list also had candidates the party is fielding in Maharashtra, where it has an alliance with the Shiv Sena. In Maharashtra, the BJP has dropped six sitting MPs to beat anti-incumbency.