New Delhi: BJP on Wednesday night announced the names of 88 candidates for the Assam assembly polls including those of its chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal, former Congress leader Himanta Biswa Sarma and Lok Sabha MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasha, who has been fielded against Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
The party's Central Election Committee (CEC) cleared the names for all but two of the 90 seats it will contest in the polls for the 126-member state assembly. The party also cleared 52 candidates for the election to 294-member West Bengal assembly.
Party chief Amit Shah chaired the meeting which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi besides other CEC members.
"Our list of candidates has the representation of greater Assamese society. It is a reflection of greater Assam," Union Minister and party's Parliamentary Board secretary J P Nadda told a press conference.
Several Congress MLAs, who joined the saffron party along with Sarma, have been given tickets as well.
Seeking to corner Gogoi in his constituency, BJP has pitted its MP Tasha from the Congress leader's constituency of Titabor.
Sonowal will contest from Majuli, a reserved seat for ST, while Sarma has been fielded from Jalukbari. The party's decision to contest 90 seats means that some of its candidates will have a friendly fight with allies like AGP or Bodoland People's Front.
"We had announced Mission 84 for Assam. So we had to fight a few seats more than this. Some of the fight will be strategic," a leader said, adding that some smaller allies will field their candidates on the BJP's symbol.
Terming infiltration from Bangladesh as a major poll issue, BJP has forged a rainbow coalition with several regional outfits in its bid to wrest power from the Congress which has been ruling the state for the last 15 years.
Assam goes to the polls in two phases on 4 April and 11 April.
BJP also announced the names of 52 candidates for the West Bengal assembly polls. Chandra Kumar Bose, grandnephew of Subhash Chandra Bose, has been fielded against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Bhawanipur constituency.
State party chief Dilip Ghosh will contest Kharagpur Sadar seat.
Bengali film and TV actress Locket Chatterjee will contest Mayureswar while Samik Bhattacharya, who became the first BJP MLA in the assembly after winning a bypoll, will fight from Basirhat Dakshin, which he currently represents. Actor Joy Banerjee will try is luck from Suri.