BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will contest the Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi, while party president Rajnath Singh will now fight from Lucknow, the BJP announced Saturday. According to the Bharatiya Janata Party's fourth list, which has 55 names, released late Saturday, Arun Jaitley, the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, will contest the elections from Amritsar, actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha from Patna Sahib, and Uma Bharati from Jhansi.
Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who is sitting MP from Varanasi, moves to Kanpur, while Rajnath Singh shifts from Ghaziabad to Lucknow, earlier held by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and currently represented by the party's Lalji Tandon. Modi said it was "an honour" to contest from Hindu holy city.
"With blessings of Ganga Mata & Kashi Vishwanath, let us work towards success of Mission 272+ & create a strong, vibrant, and prosperous India," he tweeted. Celebrations broke out among BJP members in Varanasi after the announcement. Several hundreds of party supporters shouted slogans in his favour, blew conches, smeared each other with "gulaal" (colour) and burst crackers.
They said they would be performing a special puja at the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple Monday. Among other candidates, former minister Maneka Gandhi, sitting MP from Aonla in Uttar Pradesh, returns to her traditional Pilibhit seat in the state, while her son Varun Gandhi shifts from Pilibhit to Sultanpur - contiguous to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's Rae Bareli and vice president Rahul Gandhi's Amethi constituencies. Former union minister Rao Inderjeet Singh, who recently quit the Congress, will contest from Gurgaon, and Kalraj Mishra from Deoria (Uttar Pradesh).
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, who recently returned to the BJP, is not contesting but his son Rajvir Singh has been fielded from the state's Etah. The candidates from Delhi, where polling will be held in the second round (April 10), are state party chief Harsh Vardhan from Chandni Chowk, party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi from New Delhi, Pravesh Verma, the son of former chief minister Saheb Singh Verma, from West Delhi, Dalit leader Udit Raj from North West Delhi (reserved), Bhojpuri movie star Manoj Tiwari from North East Delhi, Ramesh Bidhuri from South Delhi and Mahesh Giri from East Delhi.
Actress Kirron Kher has been fielded from Chandigarh, from where the Aam Aadmi Party is fielding model-turned-actress Gul Panag. However, the shifting of seats left some unhappy. Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is the MP from Amritsar, told media persons earlier Saturday that he will not fight the Lok Sabha polls from anywhere except Amritsar.
Talking to reporters after meeting Rajnath Singh, the cricketer-turned-politician said he had no problem with Jaitley fighting from Amritsar but he had declined alternative constituencies in Delhi and Haryana and would refrain from the electoral battle. Tandon however told IANS there was no question of being unhappy and Rajnath Singh being fielded from Lucknow was in the party's best interests.