BJP’s poll body meet to finalise first list of LS candidates concludes

New Delhi: The BJP’s Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting, attended by senior leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to hold deliberations to finalise the first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls ended early Friday.

The meeting, which began around 10:30 pm on Thursday, lasted for more than four hours and was held at the party’s headquarters here.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president J P Nadda and Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh were among those who attended the meeting as the ruling party looks to name its candidates for a sizeable number of the 543 Lok Sabha seats before the Election Commission (EC) announces the poll schedule. The elections are expected to be held in April-May.

Leaders from various states, including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Gujarat’s Bhupendra Patel, Madhya Pradesh’s Mohan Yadav, Chhattisgarh’s Vishnu Deo Sai, Uttarakhand’s Pushkar Singh Dhami and Goa’s Pramod Sawant, were among those who arrived for the meeting.

Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Diya Kumari also came for the meeting.

State leaders attend the CEC meeting when candidates for constituencies falling in their respective states are discussed.

A large number of those seats that the BJP has targeted for improving its prospects after unsuccessfully contesting those in 2019 may figure in the initial lists of candidates, following the template of recent Assembly polls, sources said.

Many Union ministers, including Bhupender Yadav, Dharmendra Pradhan and Mansukh Mandaviya, are likely to be fielded in the general elections, after the party chose not to give them another Rajya Sabha term during the recent biennial polls to the Upper House of Parliament.

The BJP’s poll candidate lists have often been as significant for those missing out as for the new faces given a chance and all eyes will be on whether it drops some well-known names or does some fresh experiment in selecting its nominees.

The party’s brain trust, including Shah and Nadda, has held a series of meetings with its leaders from states to draw the lists of probables, before the CEC takes a final call.