The BJP on Thursday released its first list of candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections which is set to begin on April 11, spread through seven phases to conclude on May 19. Counting of votes and declaration of results to take place on May 23. The list includes the names of some of the biggest leaders including PM Modi (Varanasi), Amit Shah (Gandhinagar), Smriti Irani (Amethi) among 181 others. However, along with the top contenders from the BJP, the Narendra Modi-led party also announced the 2019 contest for a number of new entrants for the 2019 polls.
Recent entrant and Congress rebel lawmaker Umesh Jadhav is set to take on Rahul Gandhi-led party leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge from Karnataka's Gulbarga as a BJP candidate. Jadhav, a former Minister, joined the BJP at a party rally in Kalaburagi on March 6, two days after he quit the Karnataka Assembly membership, at a rally addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Two other new entrants who left the Congress and joined BJP recently A Manju, a former MLA, and his party colleague Devendrappa, have also been rewarded with tickets to contest from Hassan and Bellary, respectively. Manju, joined BJP on Sunday, unhappy with Congress' decision to cede Hassan seat to its coalition partner JD(S). He is likely to fight against former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda's grandson Prajwal Revanna. Gowda is the sitting MP from Hassan.
Ex-BJD MP Baijayant Panda, who joined the BJP earlier this month and was appointed national vice-president soon after, has been fielded from Kendrapada- a seat that he has represented on a BJD ticket earlier.
The list also included Sujay Vikhe Patil, the son of Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrihna Vikhe Patil who recently jumped the ship from Congress to BJP. Ahmednagar MP Dilip Gandhi has been replaced by Sujay Vikhe Patil where the recently joined BJP leader will take on Sangram Jagtap of NCP.
The BJP has fielded former Trinamool Congress MLA Arjun Singh from Barrackpur Lok Sabha seat. He will be pitted against TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi.
Another former TMC MP Soumitra Kha who left the party due to disagreements with the leadership and joined BJP, who joined BJP in January, has been fielded from the Bishnupur (SC) Lok Sabha seat. Kha left the TMC following disagreements with the party leadership.
Another expelled TMC MP Anupam Hazra has been fielded by the BJP from the crucial Jadavpur Lok Sabha seat. He is all set to face CPM’s Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya and TMC’s celebrity candidate Mimi Chakraborty.