New Delhi (AGENCY) 15 March Putting to rest all speculation and hoping to boost the party’s prospects in the electorally crucial state, the BJP’s prime-ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will contest the Lok Sabha election from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, BJP announcedl replacing sitting MP and senior party leader Murli Manohar Joshi, who had been resisting the move. Joshi has been shifted to Kanpur.
Party President Rajnath Singh also got his way as he will contest from Lucknow in place of incumbent party MP Lalji Tandon, who too had earlier ruled out changing his constituency for Rajnath Singh. Singh had won the last election from Ghaziabad.
Senior party leader Arun Jaitley has been fielded from Amritsar constituency in Punjab, BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar said at a press conference while releasing the list of 55 candidates finalised for 12 states.
Jaitley will replace Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was called by the party leadership during the day and offered an option of contesting from three other seats which he refused.
Maneka Gandhi returns to her traditional Pilibhit seat from Aonla, while her son Varun Gandhi, who was the sitting MP from Pilibhit, will now contest from Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur – contiguous to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli and vice president Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi constituencies.
Among the candidates announced for Delhi, where polling will be held in the second round (April 10), are state party chief Harsh Vardhan (Chandni Chowk), party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi (New Delhi), Pravesh Verma (West Delhi) and Ramesh Bidhuri (South Delhi).
The BJP has fielded actress Kirron Kher from Chandigarh, from where the Aam Aadmi Party is fielding model-turned-actress Gul Panag.