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Lok Sabha Election 2019: Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani among key names in BJP candidate lists

Since 22 March, the central election committee of the Bharatiya Janata Party has released 15 candidate lists for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Some prominent names announced thus far include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, among many others.

While several sitting MPs have got tickets, many faced the axe. Some prominent names who have been denied tickets include Union ministers Haribhai Choudhary and Vishnu Deo Sai. BJP patriarchs Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi (from Gandhinagar and Kanpur respectively).

Several turncoats too have been given tickets, including former BJD leaders Bijayant Panda and Abhimanyu Sethi, former Congress Karnataka leader Umesh Jadhav, and former Maharashtra NCP vice-president Bharti Pawar.

Here's a look at all the key names featured in BJP lists:

Uttar Pradesh:

Narendra Modi - Varanasi

Modi will seek reelection from Varanasi. In the 2014 elections, Modi won the seat by a margin of over 3.3 lakh votes, defeating his nearest rival Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal. As per the alliance deal between the BSP and Samajwadi Party, Varanasi will be contested by a Samajwadi Party candidate this time. With the Congress yet to reveal its candidate for this constituency, a triangular contest is expected.

 Lok Sabha Election 2019: Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani among key names in BJP candidate lists

File image of Narendra Modi. PTI

Raghav Lakhanpal - Saharanpur

Raghav Lakhanpal has been re-nominated to contest from Saharanpur, which saw communal polarisation in the aftermath of the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. The three-time former MLA will once again be contesting against Congress’ Imran Masood, whom he defeated in the 2014 election by a margin of over 65,000 votes. With the Muslims comprising 45 percent of the Saharanpur population, Lakhanpal will be banking on the consolidation of Hindu votes against the Congress and 'mahagathbandhan' candidates.

Satyapal Singh - Baghpat

In the 2014 elections, Union minister and former Mumbai Police chief Satyapal Singh recorded a massive victory by defeating former Union Minister Ajit Singh by over 3 lakh votes. He will take on Jayant Choudhary, son of Ajit Singh, who is fighting as a RLD candidate backed by the mahaghatbandhan.

General VK Singh - Ghaziabad

Former Indian Army chief General VK Singh, who joined the BJP in March 2014, scored a historic victory in Ghaziabad constituency after defeating Congress leader Raj Babbar by a whopping margin of over 5.67 lakh votes. He subsequently became a Minister of State (MoS) in the Modi Cabinet. In the upcoming election, Singh is expected to face off with Samajwadi Party’s Suresh Bansal and Congress candidate Dolly Sharma.

Mahesh Sharma - Gautam Buddh Nagar

Mahesh Sharma, the incumbent culture minister, will be fighting for reelection from Gautam Buddh Nagar Lok Sabha constituency. In the last election, Sharma beat Narendra Bhati of the Samajwadi Party by a margin of over 2.8 lakh votes. In the upcoming elections, the Samajwadi Party-BSP combine has fielded Satbir Nagar as its candidate against Sharma. Recently, the Union minister sparked a controversy after he mocked Congress general-secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Hema Malini - Mathura

Actress Hema Malini won the Mathura seat in 2014, defeating RLD leader and then sitting MP and Jayant Choudhary by over 3,30,000 votes. Since her victory, however, she has been facing flak from party workers for allegedly ignoring the constituency. This time the actress-turned-politician will be taking on RLD's Narendra Singh from the Jat-dominated Lok Sabha constituency.

Santosh Kumar Gangwar - Bareilly

Union Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar will be fighting his eighth election from Bareilly. Since 1991, he has only lost once - in 2009 - from this constituency. However, the new alliance between Samajwadi Party and the BSP may pose a threat to the electorate arithmetic of Bareilly, where Muslims have a significant presence.

File image of home minister Rajnath Singh. News18

File image of home minister Rajnath Singh. News18

Rajnath Singh - Lucknow

Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be contesting from the BJP bastion of Lucknow for the second consecutive time. Rajnath won the last election by a margin of over 2.7 lakh votes. He defeated incumbent Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Ritu Bahuguna Joshi, who was then with the Congress. Lucknow has been with the BJP since 1991, when former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee first won the seat. He continued to represent the constituency till 2009 before making way for his protégé Lalji Tandon.

Sakshi Maharaj - Unnao

The controversial godman will be seeking his reelection from Unnao, after reportedly threatening the party high command of consequences if not given a ticket. Sakshi won the 2014 elections from Unnao by a margin of over 3 lakh votes. This time, Unnao is expected to witness a three-cornered fight between Samajwadi Party, Congress and the BJP.

Smriti Irani - Amethi

After losing to Congress president Rahul Gandhi by a margin of just over 1 lakh votes, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani will once again contest from the Congress pocket borough. Since 2014, Irani made several visits to Amethi to interact with the locals as well as party workers, indicating her interest in developing the constituency.

Sanjeev Balyan - Muzzaffarnagar

One of the main accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots, Sanjeev Balyan won the seat after defeating sitting MP Kadir Rana of the BSP by over 4 lakh votes. Balyan was later inducted into the Union Council of Ministers as MoS. This election is expected to be tougher for Balyan since the coming together of Samajwadi Party and BSP would affect the minority vote banks (Dalits and Jats). A face off is expected between Balyan and veteran RLD leader Ajit Singh, who is the mahagathbandan candidate.

Dinesh Lal Yadav 'Nirahua' - Azamgarh

Just a week after joining the BJP, Dinesh Lal Yadav, 40, will contest elections from Azamgarh against Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. Yadav, who is popularly known by his screen name 'Nirahua', is among the most successful actor-singers in the Bhojpuri film industry. Interestingly, Nirahua was also a contestant on Bigg Boss 6 in 2012. In 2016, he received the Yash Bharti Samman from the state government for this contribution to Bhojpuri cinema.

Kunwar Bharatendra Singh - Bijnor

Kunwar Bharatendra Singh, a Jat leader, will be seeking reelection from Bijnor, a key constituency in western Uttar Pradesh. A two-term MLA, Singh is also an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. In the last election, he defeated Shahnawaz Rana of the Samajwadi Party by over 2 lakh votes. This time, the main fight is expected to be between him and Maluk Nagar, the mahagathbandhan candidate.

Jaya Prada - Rampur

Former film star-turned politician Jaya Prada will be contesting as a BJP candidate from Rampur. She was earlier elected as a Samajwadi Party candidate from the same constituency in 2004 and 2009. In the last elections, she fought on a RLD ticket from Bijnor but lost. Prada began her political career with the Telugu Desam Party in 1994. She entered the Rajya Sabha in 1996, representing Andhra Pradesh. However, after difference with N Chandrababu Naidu, she joined the Samajwadi Party.

Varun Gandhi - Pilibhit

Varun Gandhi has been sent back to Pilibhit, which he previously represented in the 15th Lok Sabha. Varun represents Sultanpur, which will now be contested by his mother Maneka Gandhi in the upcoming elections. A noted columnist on public policy issues, Varun released his book on the Indian rural economy The Rural Manifesto: Realising India's Future through her Villages in 2018.

Maneka Gandhi - Sultanpur

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi will be contesting the upcoming elections from Sultanpur, after winning from neighbouring Pilibhit in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. This is her first electoral contest from this constituency. She has represented Pilibhit six times and Aonla once in her three-decade long parliamentary career. She has also been a minister in the VP Singh and Vajpayee governments.

File image of Maneka Gandhi. AFP

File image of Maneka Gandhi. AFP

Ram Shankar Katheria - Etawah

After representing Agra for two terms, BJP leader Ram Shankar Katheria will be contesting from Etawah. Katheria is the chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and a former MoS for Human Resources Development.

Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti - Fatehpur

The firebrand Hinditva leader will seek reelection from Fatehpur, which she won in the 2014 elections by a margin of over 1.8 lakh votes. In November 2014, she was made a Minister of State with the portfolio of Food Processing Industries. Prior to entering Parliament, Jyoti was an MLA representing Hamirpur in the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha.

Jagdambika Pal - Doomariyaganj

Jagdambika Pal will seek his third straight term from Doomariyaganj. In 2009, he won the seat on a Congress ticket before switching over to the BJP ahead of the 2014 elections. He has also held ministerial positions in Uttar Pradesh in the 1990s. However, he shot to national prominence in February 1998, when he became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for three days.

Manoj Sinha - Ghazipur

Union Minister and sitting MP Manoj Sinha will be seeking reelection from Ghazipur. He previously represented the constituency in the 11th and 13th Lok Sabha. In 2014, Sinha won by a narrow margin of just 32,000 votes. Known to have the confidence of Modi, Sinha was also in the race for the chief ministership of Uttar Pradesh, which eventually went to Yogi Adityanath.

Mahendra Nath Pandey - Chandauli

Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey will seek his second term in the Lok Sabha from Chandauli, which he won in 2014 by over 1.5 lakh votes. Between 2016 and 2017, Pandey also served as Minister of State for Human Resources Development. After his stint as a minister, Pandey was appointed president of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the BJP. Before entering national politics, Pandey served as minister in the Uttar Pradesh government.

Chhattisgarh:

Baiduram Kashyap - Bastar (ST)

A Member of Legislative Assembly from Jagdalpur, Baiduram Kashyap is the face of the Bharatriya Janata Party in the Bastar constituency. He replaces two-time Member of Parliament Dinesh Kashyap, son of BJP leader Baliram Kashyap. Baiduram, 41, is the district BJP chief in Bastar. With almost 70 percent of its population belonging to the scheduled tribes, the constituency is reserved for ST candidates. A former MLA of Chitrakote, Baiduram is up against Deepak Baij of Congress. Baiduram, who has to woo tribal communities such as Gond, Maria, Muriya, Bhatra, Halba, Dhruva, faces stiff competition from the Congress in the Naxal-affected constituency.

Vijay Baghel - Durg 

The high-profile Durg constituency will witness a battle of prestige as Vijay Baghel takes on Patima Chandrakar of the Congress. According to reports, Chandrakar and Baghel share cordial familial ties. Moreover, Baghel is the nephew of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, whose Assembly segment comes under this Lok Sabha constituency. Three other Congress ministers too are representing Assembly segments which come under this Lok Sabha constituency.

Jammu and Kashmir:

Jitendra Singh - Udhampur

Jitendra Singh is the sitting Member of Parliament of Udhampur constituency in Jammu and Kashmir after he beat Congress veteran and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. In his electoral debut in 2014, Singh was credited for bringing the constituency back to BJP after two consecutive Congress wins. In the BJP-led central government, the 62-year-old is a MoS for Prime Minister’s Office and MoS (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region. Born into a Rajput family, Singh is a doctor with expertise in diabetes and endocrinology. He has also authored several books and has also been the BJP chief spokesperson for Jammu and Kashmir in the past.

Jugal Kishore Sharma - Jammu

Jugal Kishore Sharma won the Nagrota Assembly seat twice: in 2002 and 2008. He fought the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Jammu and defeated two-time MP Madan Lal Sharma from the Congress. He is also a member of the standing committee on rural development and of the consultative committee under Ministry of Power and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. It was during his tenure that the central government sanctioned an Rs 5,100-crore Jammu-Poonch National Highway project as well as the Jammu-Poonch rail-line project. Parts of his constituency lie on border areas and are often hit by heavy shelling. It was during his term that the central government began construction of over 14,000 safety bunkers. Having defeated Madan Lal Sharma by over 2 lakh votes in the 2014 election and riding high on the development projects, the 56-year-old is hopeful of a second term.

Ladakh - Jamyang Tsering Namgyal

The 31-year-old Jamyang Tsering Namgyal is the Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC). Namgyal took over from Dorjey Mottup, who had resigned in November 2018 in protest against the BJP. He also served as a private secretary to the ex-BJP MP and renowned Buddhist spiritual leader, Thupstan Chhewang.

Kerala:

Alphons Kannanthanam - Ernakulam

Alphons Kannanthanam or KJ Alphons was one of the contenders for the much sought after Pathanamthitta constituency, but the saffron party has decided to field him from Ernakulam: held by Congress' PV Thomas. A former civil servant, Alphons is currently the MoS for Tourism (Independent Charge). He joined the BJP in 2011. A low-profile Rajya Sabha MP, Alphons was in the spotlight in December 2018 when the Kerala High Court directed the Additional Director General of Police to investigate a four-year-old criminal case against him. With an eye on the Hindu vote bank, particularly from the Nair community, on the sidelines of the Sabrimala agitations, Alphons announced Rs 85.23 crore for the state for developing a spiritual tourism circuit. This circuit will include 133 places of worship in Kerala.

Suresh Gopi - Thrissur

Popular Malayalam actor Suresh Gopi will be the BJP candidate from Thrissur. Gopi is a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha. Months after his Rajya Sabha nomination, Gopi joined the BJP in October 2016. During the 2006 Assembly polls, he campaigned for the LDF and UDF in Kerala. Gopi has acted in over 200 films, and won a Kerala State Award as well as the National Award.

Kummanam Rajasekharan -  Thiruvananthapuram

Kummanam Rajasekharan was the governor of Mizoram. He resigned in March to be able to contest in the Lok Sabha elections. With a ticket from the Kerala capital, he is pitted against Congress veteran and two-time MP Shashi Tharoor. A former BJP Kerala president, the 66-year-old has been vocal about the Sabarimala issue. Sympathising with the agitators, he has often said that rules of one temple should not be applied to another. He has also spoken out against the Chief Electoral Officer’s (CEO) gag order on using the Sabarimala row during election campaigning. Rajasekharan is allegedly backed by the RSS and the Sabarimala Karma Samiti. Tharoor, meanwhile, has written to the CEO, alleging that Rajasekharan was using communalism in his campaign, an allegation that Rajasekharan has refuted.

Rajasthan:

Nihal Chand Chauhan - Ganganagar (SC)

Nihal Chand Chauhan is a MoS for Chemicals and Fertilisers. The 48-year-old, who belongs to the Meghwal community, has won the seat from Ganganagar four times. In the 2014 elections, Chauhan beat his Congress rival by over 2.9 lakh seats. However, many party members in the state are against his candidature as he is one of the 17 accused in a 2011 rape case.

Arjun Ram Meghwal - Bikaner (SC)

Arjun Ram Meghwal, a two-time MP from Bikaner, won the seat in 2014 with a margin of over 3.08 lakh votes. The 66-year-old is a former IAS officer. According to an analysis by the National Election Watch and the Association for Democratic Reforms, Meghwal’s assets grew by 608 percent between 2009 and 2014. Meanwhile, last week, Devi Singh Bhati, a BJP veteran from Rajasthan, resigned over Meghwal’s nomination for the third time. Bhati alleged that Meghwal campaigned against party candidates during the state Assembly elections.

Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore - Jaipur Rural

Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathod, a sitting MP from Jaipur Rural, is the MoS (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The 49-year-old has served in the Indian Army for 23 years between 1990 and 2013. Before joining politics, he made India proud with several achievements in double trap shooting events. Rathore, who earned a gold medal in the 2002 Commonwealth Games, holds the record of hitting 192 out of 200 targets. He won 25 international medals at various championships for double trap shooting and became the first Indian, post-Independence, to win individual silver medal at Athens Olympics, in 2004. He has been awarded the Padma Shri, Ati Vishisth Seva Medal, Arjuna Award and Khel Ratna.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat - Jodhpur

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, current MoS for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, will again contest on a BJP ticket from Jodhpur. The 52-year-old has often been at loggerheads with the Congress-led state government over issues pertaining to farmers in the region. He has blamed the state government for not providing information to the Centre on farmers eligible for the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. He is likely to face stiff competition from the Congress in his constituency, which is considered the home turf of chief minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot. This time, the Grand Old Party has fielded Gehlot’s son Vaibhav from Jodhpur.

Uttarakhand:

Ajay Tamta - Almora (SC)

In the 2014 general elections, BJP candidate Ajay Tamta defeated Congress candidate Pradeep Tamta to become the MP from this constituency. A MoS for Textiles, he is the only MP from Uttarakhand in the Union Cabinet. The 49-year-old politician is hailed as a Dalit leader and has strong connections to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He also faces an anti-incumbency wave, especially after residents of Timta village in Pithoragarh cried foul over his adoption of the village. The residents said that while the MoS had promised to adopt the village and bring development projects, he has not done so.

Ajay Bhatt - Nainital-Udhamsinghpur

Uttarakhand BJP chief Ajay Bhatt has been asked to contest the elections from Nainital-Udhamsinghpur after incumbent MP Bhagat Singh Koshiyari refused to run for elections owing to his age. After losing the 2012 state election to the Congress, Bhatt has been the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. He then became the chief ministerial candidate in the 2017 elections when BJP won with a sweeping majority. However, because Bhatt lost the seat in Ranikhet, he could not be made the chief minister.

Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank - Haridwar

In the 2014 general elections, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank won with a majority of over 1.77 lakh votes. He defeated Renuka Rawat, wife of Congress veteran and former chief minister Harish Rawat. Ramesh served as the Uttarakhand chief minister between 2009 and 2011. Hailing from the Pauri region of the state, he is likely to face some opposition from his electorate as he doesn’t belong to Haridwar. Referred to as an astute politician, he has held several portfolios in the state cabinet and is considered to be a ‘people’s man’. He might be up against former chief minister Harish Rawat, who may contest from Haridwar or Nainital.

Andhra Pradesh:

D Purandeshwari - Vishakhapatnam

Daggubatti Purandeshwari will return to contest from the Vishakhapatnam constituency after a decade. The 40-year-old politician was elected MP from Vishakhapatnam in 2009 on a Congress ticket. In 2014, she joined the BJP and fought from Rajampet constituency and lost. Daughter of Telugu Desam Party founder NT Rama Rao, Purandeshwari is currently the chief of BJP’s Mahila Morcha. In 2004, she represented the Bapatla constituency and also served as the MoS for Human Resource Development. Earlier in 2019, her husband Daggubati Venkateswara Rao and son Hitesh Chenchuram met YSRCP chief Jaganmohan Reddy, kicking off speculation about a switch in parties. However, she clarified that she would stick to the BJP. She was then appointed chairperson of the committee responsible for preparing the election manifesto in Andhra Pradesh. The Vishakhapatnam seat is held by Kambhampati Hari Babu from BJP.

Arunachal Pradesh:

Tapir Gao - Aruanchal East

Tapir Gao will be fighting from Arunachal East constituency after losing to sitting MP Ninong Ering of the Congress party by a margin of 12,000 votes in the 2014 election. Gao, president of the Arunachal Pradesh unit of the BJP, previously represented the constituency between 2004 and 2009. James Lowangcha Wanglat of the Congress is the main opponent for Gao.

Kiren Rijiju - Arunachal West

MoS for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju will be fighting for his reelection to Parliament from the Arunachal West constituency, which he first represented between 2004 and 2009. His main opponents will be from the Congress, which announced ex-chief minister Nabam Tuki as its candidate, and National People’s Party.

Odisha:

Jual Oram - Sundargarh (ST)

Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram will be seeking his fifth term as a Lok Sabha MP from Sundargarh in Odisha. After consecutively winning the seat between 1998 and 2004, Oram lost the 2009 elections to former chief minister Hemananda Biswal. He was the only BJP candidate to win his seat in the 2014 elections, which was otherwise swept by the BJD.

Baijayant Panda - Kendrapara

Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda will be contesting the election for the first time as a BJP candidate. Panda, who quit the BJD in early 2018, has been representing Kendrapara since 2009. Panda, who is also an industrialist, was a Rajya Sabha member between 2000 and 2009. Panda, who was once close to Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, joined the BJP in March 2019 and was immediately appointed one of the vice-presidents of the party.

Aparajita Sarangi - Bhubaneswar

The former IAS officer of the Odisha cadre, Sarangi will be entering the electoral battlefield for the first time. She joined the party in November 2018 after taking voluntary retirement in September. Sarangi’s last posting was in the Ministry of Rural Development, where she was a Joint Secretary in-charge of MGNREGA. She gained prominence in Odisha when she served as Bhubaneshwar’s municipal commissioner between 2006 and 2009.

Sambit Patra - Puri

The prominent media face of the BJP, Sambit Patra will contest against BJD’s sitting MP Pinaki Mishra. Patra is a BJP national spokesperson. In October 2017, he was appointed as one of the independent directors of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). Prior to joining full-time politics, Patra served as a medical officer in Delhi’s Hindu Rao Hospital.

Abhimanyu Sethi - Bhadrak

Abhimanyu Sethi, the son of former Union minister Arjun Sethi, will contest from Bhadrak, which has returned his father eight times to the Lok Sabha. The father-son duo joined the BJP on 30 March after the regional party refused to give ticket to junior Sethi.

Tamil Nadu:

H Raja - Sivaganga

The national secretary of the BJP and prominent face of Tamil Nadu unit of the party is set to contest from Congress stronghold of Sivaganga. In the last election, Raja secured the third position as PR Senthilnathan won the seat by over 2 lakh votes. In the coming election, the fight is expected to be between the Congress - which is part of the DMK-led alliance - and the BJP, which is in alliance with AIADMK. Congress is yet to announce its candidate, but there is speculation about former finance minister P Chidambaram's son Karti, who also contested the last election, being fielded from this constituency.

Tamilisai Soundarrajan - Thoothukkudi

The president of the Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP, Sounderrajan will take on Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK’s late patriarch M Karunanidhi. Sounderrajan fought the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from the Chennai North constituency but came third.

Pon Radhakrishnan - Kanyakumari

The Union minister will be fighting for his third term in the Lok Sabha. In the 2014 elections, he was the only BJP candidate who won from Tamil Nadu. Radhakrishnan also won from the same constituency in 1999, when it was called Nagercoil. He is likely to face a tough challenge from Congress candidate H Vasanthkumar.

West Bengal:

Arjun Singh - Barrackpur

Four-term MLA Arjun Singh joined the BJP in March 2019. He will face off with sitting MP and former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi. Arjun, who is known for the support he has among party cadres, was miffed with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for denying him a Lok Sabha ticket.

Chandra Kumar Bose - Kolkata Dakshin

Chandra Kumar Bose, the grandson of Sarat Chandra Bose and grandnephew of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, has been BJP’s face in Bengal in the last three years. He will make his electoral debut in Kolkata Dakshin, the former pocket borough of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. According to reports, BJP is keen to use his familial ties with Netaji to strike a chord with the Bengali voters.

Rahul Sinha - Kolkata Uttar

Rahul Sinha, the national secretary of the party and the former chief of the Bengal unit, will fight from Kolkata Uttar for the second consecutive time. In 2014, he lost to senior TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyaya, who is also in the fray this time.

Babul Supriyo - Asansol

One of the two winners in the state from the BJP in the last Lok Sabha election, Babul Supriyo is a minister in the Modi Cabinet. According to reports, he has been campaigning in the constituency for a month. He is pitted against veteran actress Moon Moon Sen, who was dubbed a giant killer after she defeated nine-time CPM MP Basudeb Acharia in Bankura in 2014.

Dilip Ghosh - Medinipur

The BJP state unit chief will be fighting from Medinipur. Ghosh, who is an MLA representing the Kharagpur Sadar Assembly constituency, became defeated seven-term MLA Gyan Singh Sohanpal in the 2016 polls.

Shantanu Thakur - Bangaon

A rising leader of the politically-influential Matua community, Shantanu Thakur is the grandson of Boro Ma, who was the matriarch of the community. Matua, classified as Scheduled Caste in West Bengal, is a socio-religious community which is being wooed by BJP and TMC.

Maharashtra:

Subhash Ramrao Bhamre - Dhule

Bhamre is the sitting MP in the Dhule Lok Sabha constituency and the Union MoS for defence since 2016. Born on 11 September, 1953, he is an oncologist by profession and known to offer free treatment to cancer patients. He was among the “non-political” candidates fielded by the BJP in the 2014 election. His induction into the ministry in 2016 the Modi government’s attempt to substitute the resignation party state unit chief Raosaheb Danve.

Heena Vijaykumar Gavit - Nandurbar (ST)

One of the youngest MPs, she defeated her opponent by more than one lakh votes in the 2014 general elections. Her father Vijakumar Gavit was a minister in the Congress-NCP Maharashtra government who ended up losing his Cabinet berth because Heena joined the rival party. She is the only MP from the BJP in the 16th Lok Sabha to have asked more than 900 questions. She is currently a member of the Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Nitin Gadkari - Nagpur

An RSS product, Gadkari is Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. He formerly held the rural development, panchayati raj and drinking water and sanitation portfolios. Hailing from Nagpur, he was born on 27 May, 1957, and served as the PWD minister in the Maharashtra government from 1995 to 1999. He was also elected as the BJP president in 2010. In 2014, Gadkari won the Nagpur Lok Sabha seat, defeating Congress leader Vilas Muttemwar. In the upcoming election, he will be taking on Congress’ Nana Patole.

Hansraj Gangaram Ahir - Chandrapur

Ahir is the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs. Born in Nanded, Maharashtra, he is a four-time MP from Chandrapur. He was earlier the MoS for Chemical and Fertilizers in the Modi government.

Raosaheb Patil Danve - Jalna

Maharashtra BJP unit chief and four-time MP, Danve was the MoS for consumer affairs, food and public distribution in the Modi government till March 2015. He was born in Javkheda, in Jalna district of Maharashtra in May 1977. He was recently involved in a bitter struggle with Arjun Khotkar, MoS in the Devendra Fadnavis government, who also wanted to contest the election from Jalna seat.

Poonam Mahajan - Mumbai-North-Central

Daughter of the late veteran BJP leader Pramod Mahajan and chief of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, she is the Mumbai-North-Central MP. Mahajan has a diploma in leadership management from Brighton School of Business Management in UK. Since her electoral debut in 2009, she had networked and found favour with top BJP leadership. This time, Mahajan has been pitted against Congress leader Priya Dutt, whom she defeated in a high-profile contest in the last general election with a margin of 1.86 lakh votes. However, the constituency has never returned the same party to power since 1980.

Sujay Vikhe Patil - Ahmednagar

Son of Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Sujay joined the saffron party a few days ago and is set to make his political debut. A neurosurgeon, his family has a strong hold in the constituency, but the NCP was to contest on the seat as per the Congress-NCP seat sharing agreement. The Congress, however, asked NCP to exchange the Ahmednagar seat for any other seat, but NCP chief Sharad Pawar reportedly refused the offer. The BJP ignored three-time sitting MP Dilip Gandhi. According to Sujay, the most pressing issue in the constituency is employment generation for the youth. He will be facing NCP MLA Sangram Jagtap.

Pritam Gopinath Munde - Beed

Former Union minister Gopinath Munde’s daughter, Pritam made her political debut in 2014 when she won the Beed Lok Sabha bypolls following her father’s death in June 2014. She defeated former Congress minister Ashok Patil by more than 7 lakh votes. Top leaders of the BJP, including Modi and Amit Shah, campaigned for her at the time.

Ranjeet Singh Naik Nimbalkar - Madha

Ranjeet Singh Naik Nimbalkar will be taking on NCP's Sanjay Shinde in Madha, a constituency which falls under Solapur district. Prior to joining the BJP, Nimbalkar was a district chief of the Congress party. Joining in the saffron party in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Nimbalkar criticised NCP for allegedly ruining Baramati.

Girish Bapat - Pune

State food and civil supplies minister Girish Bapat will contest from Pune. He has been winning consecutively from his bastion in Pune’s Kasba Peth since 1995. A long-time member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bapat began his career as a Pune Municipal Corporation corporator.

Bharti Pawar - Dindori

Among the many turncoats in Maharashtra this election season, Bharti Pawar was the state vice-president of the NCP before joining the BJP on 23 March. Pawar has replaced three-time BJP MP Harishchandra Chavan, to whom she lost by over 2.47 lakh votes in 2014 polls.

Assam:

Queen Ojha - Guwahati

She is a former mayor of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation. The BJP has fielded her from the Guwahati Lok Sabha seat which is considered to be one of the toughest electoral battlegrounds in the state due to its diverse voter base. Ojha will be contesting the election in place of Union Minister Bijoya Chakraborty, who has been at the seat since 1999. This will mark Ojha’s electoral debut at the national level.

Rameswar Teli - Dibrugarh

Born on 14 August, 1970, in Duliajan, Assam, Rameswar Teli is the sitting MP in the Dibrugarh Lok Sabha constituency. The BJP won the seat for the first time in 2014. Teli defeated Paban Singh Ghatowar of the Congress by 1,85,347 votes. Among all MPs from the state, Teli has the least educational qualifications, passing the matriculation exam in 1989. He is a member of the Committee on the Welfare of Other Backward Classes in Parliament.

Rupak Sarmah - Nowgong

Businessman cum politician Rupak Sarmah will take on veteran Congressman Pradyut Bordoloi in Nowgong. Sarmah is the sitting MLA from Nowgong Sadar Assembly constituency. The seat was represented by Union Minister Rajen Gohain since 1999. Gohain declined to contest the upcoming elections, stating that he would first clear his name in a rape and molestation case before reentering the fray.

Pallab Lochan Das - Tezpur

BJP leader Pallab Lochan Das, 40, will contest from Tezpur. Currently, Das is the MoS (Independent Charge) of Labour and Employment and Tea Tribes Welfare. He represents Rangapara in the Assam Assembly, which he first won in 2011 as a Congress candidate. Das replaces sitting BJP MP Ram Prasad Sharma, who quit the party recently citing “neglect by new intruders”.

Goa:

Shripad Yesso Naik - North Goa

Shripad Yesso Naik, India’s AYUSH minister, will be defending his North Goa seat for the fifth time. Naik has been winning the seat since 1999. Naik also served as a Minister of State in the Council of Ministers led by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He began his career as a grassroots-level leader before becoming an MLA in 1994.

Narendra Keshav Sawaikar - South Goa

Narendra Sawaikar has been nominated for reelection from the South Goa Lok Sabha constituency. Sawaikar started out as a student leader before entering the legal profession. He joined the BJP in 1997 and served as general secretary for nine years. He fought the 2009 polls from South Goa but lost. However, he defeated former chief minister Francisco Sardinha by over 30,000 votes in the 2014 elections.

Karnataka:

Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi - Bijapur (SC)

Born in Atharga, Bijapur, Jigajinagi is the sitting Bijapur MP and Union MoS for Drinking Water and Sanitation since 2016. He has won five Lok Sabha elections in a row since 1998 even as he switched parties before joining the BJP. The Dalit parliamentarian entered politics under the leadership of Ramakrishna Hegde, who was the late leader of undivided Janata Party. Jigajinagi gained popularity in the northern drylands of the state when he was an MLA from Chikkodi, known for its sugar. He is reportedly known to assert his caste identity without taking a confrontational stand.

Umesh Jadhav - Gulbarga

Former two-time Congress MLA from Chincholi, Jadhav defected to BJP in March after submitting his resignation to the Assembly Speaker Ramesh Kumar on 4 March. The disgruntled MLA reportedly expressed his displeasure over not landing a ministerial berth in the HD Kumaraswamy government. He will be pitted against Leader of the single largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress.

Anant Kumar Hegde - Uttara Kannada

Born in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district, Hegde is a five-time MP. He became the Union MoS for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in September 2017. He is known for making inflammatory statements and courting controversy. During a speech in Kodagu in January, Hegde said, “Regardless of caste and religion, a hand that touches a Hindu girl should not exist.” When Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao objected, Hegde said he knew Rao only “as a guy who ran behind a Muslim lady”. He previously compared Dalits to "barking dogs" and said the BJP is in power to change the Constitution.

Shobha Karandlaje - Udupi Chikmagalur

Karandlaje52, is the sitting MP in the Udupi Chikmagalur seat. In 2014, she won the seat with a margin of 1.81 lakh votes by trouncing then Congress leader K Jayaprakash Hegde, who later joined the BJP. She was a Karnataka MLC between 2004 and 2008 and was a state cabinet minister from 2008 to 2013. She will be pitted against Congress leader and former minister Pramod Madhwaraj.

A Manju - Hassan

Arkalgud Manju is another Congress rebel who recently joined the BJP on 18 March. He said he left the party for the “sake of principles” and said the Congress would get uprooted in Karnataka if the coalition government continued. A three-term Arkalgud MLA, Manju won the Assembly constituency as a BJP candidate in 1999. He joined the Congress later and retained the seat in 2008 and 2013, serving as a minister in Siddaramaiah’s cabinet. However, he lost to JD(S)’ AT Ramaswamy in the 2018 Assembly elections. Manju will be facing JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda’s grandson Prajwal Revanna in the upcoming polls.

BY Raghavendra - Shimoga

Son of former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, Raghavendra won the Shivamogga Lok Sabha bypolls in 2018 with nearly 5 lakh votes, defeating Congress-JD(S) candidate Madhu Bangarappa by a margin of 47,388 votes. Born on 16 August, 1973, he became involved in local politics after his college graduation. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, he defeated former chief minister S Bangarappa from the Shimoga Lok Sabha seat. Raghavendra belongs to the Lingayat community which is a dominant caste group in Shivamogga.

Anna Saheb Jolle - Chikkodi

Anna Saheb Jolle, a businessman and husband of MLA Shashikala Jolle, will contest the elections from Chikkodi. Jolle’s name came as surprise to many political observers who believed that Umesh Katti would get the ticket. It is to be noted that Chikkodi’s political landscape has been dominated by two families: Kattis and Jolles.

Tejasvi Surya - Bangalore South

The 28-year-old Tejaswi Surya will make his electoral debut from Bangalore South, a constituency which was once represented by his mentor Ananth Kumar. Dubbed a “rising star of the BJP”, Tejaswi nomination came as a surprise to many who were expecting Tejaswini Ananth Kumar to get the ticket. Surya is a practicing lawyer and an active supporter of the saffron party on social media. A video in which he purportedly calls those not supporting Narendra Modi as “anti-national” went viral recently.

Himachal Pradesh:

Anurag Thakur - Hamirpur

Young Turk Anurag Thakur will be contesting for the fourth time from Hamirpur. He was first elected from Hamirpur in 2008 after his father Prem Kumar Dhumal vacated the seat on becoming the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh. Thakur is the BJP’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha. In July 2016, he became the first serving BJP lawmaker to become a Commissioned Officer in the Territorial Army. Moreover, Thakur is well known as a cricket administrator and served as BCCI chief between 2015 and 2017.

Gujarat:

Amit Shah - Gandhinagar 

BJP president Amit Shah will contest from Gandhinagar, an impregnable BJP fortress since 1989. Shah will be contesting a Lok Sabha election for the first time in his political career. Shah, who is considered the Man Friday of Modi, is credited for the spectacular rise of BJP in the past five years. Currently representing Gujarat in the Rajya Sabha, Shah represented Naranpura and Sarkhej in the Gujarat Assembly for two decades. He also held several portfolios, notably the home department, under the chief ministership of Modi.

Vinodbhai Chavda - Kachchh 

Vinodbhai Chavda, 40, will seek reelection from Kachchh Lok Sabha constituency. Last elections, he was elected to the Lok Sabha by a margin of over 2.5 lakh votes. Chavda began his political career in 2010 when he became a member of the Kachchh Zila Parishad.

Mohanbhai Kundariya - Rajkot 

Veteran BJP leader Mohanbhai Kunderiya will be contesting from Rajkot for the second consecutive time. Kunderiya also served a Minister of State for Agriculture between 2014 and 2016. Prior to his election to the Lok Sabha, Kunderiya was a five-time MLA from Tankara constituency.

Jashvantsinh Bhabhor - Dahod 

MoS Tribal Affairs Jasvantsinh Bhabhor will seek reelection from the tribal-dominated Dahod Lok Sabha constituency. In 2014, he defeated Congress MP Prabhaben Taviad by a margin of over 2.3 lakh votes. Bhabhor is a veteran of Gujarat politics, having been continuously elected as MLA between 1995 and 2012. He has also served in the Keshubhai Patel and Narendra Modi ministries in Gujarat.

Mansukhbhai Vasava - Bharuch 

Mansukhbhai Vasava will seek reelection from Bharuch Lok Sabha constituency. Vasava is the sitting MP of Bharuch since November 1998, when he was elected in a by-election. Between May 2014 and July 2016, Vasava also served as MoS Tribal Affairs.

Parbatbhai Patel - Banaskantha

Senior Gujarat BJP leader Parbatbhai Patel will be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Banaskantha. Patel replaces sitting MP and Minister of State Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary. At present, Patel is a Minister of State holding the Independent Charge of Irrigation department in the Vijay Rupani government. He is one of the senior-most members of the Assembly, having been elected as a Congress candidate way back in 1985. He joined the BJP in 2000 after a brief stint as an Independent MLA. He has also served as a minister under former chief ministers Shankersinh Vaghela and Narendra Modi.

Ramesh Dhaduk - Porbandar 

Ramesh Dhaduk replaces local strongman and sitting MP Vitthalbhai Radadiya in Porbandar. Dhaduk, a businessman with business interests in real estate, will be fighting his first major election. In the past, Dhaduk has been elected a councillor of Gondal Municipality. He also served as the chairman of Gujarat Agricultural Marketing Board.

Madhya Pradesh:

Narendra Singh Tomar - Morena 

Union Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will contest from Morena, a constituency he previously represented in the 15th Lok Sabha. Tomar is the sitting MP from Gwalior. Tomar has handled several portfolios in the Modi government, namely mines, steels, labour and employment and parliamentary affairs.

Ganesh Singh - Satna 

Ganesh Singh, the sitting MP from Satna, will seek his fourth term in the Lok Sabha in the upcoming elections. In the 2014 elections, Ganesh won by a narrow margin of 8,000 votes. However, more importantly, he was able to defeat local strongman and former leader of Opposition in state Legislature Ajay Singh.

Rakesh Singh - Jabalpur

Rakesh Singh, who is the sitting MP from Jabalpur, will seek his fourth consecutive Lok Sabha term. Singh was BJP’s chief whip in the Lok Sabha between 2016 and 2018. In April 2018, he was appointed president of the state unit of the BJP.

Faggan Singh Kulaste - Mandla 

Senior BJP leader and sitting MP Faggan Singh Kulaste will be contesting from Mandla Lok Sabha constituency. He previously represented the constituency between 1996 and 2009. However, he lost the elections in 2009 and entered the Rajya Sabha. In 2014, Kulaste won the Mandla seat by over 1 lakh votes. The tribal leader served as MoS Tribal Affairs under prime minister Vajpayee. Between 2016 and 2017, he served as MoS Health and Family welfare.

Jharkhand:

Arjun Munda - Khunti

Arjun Munda will be contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Khunti. He was previously elected to the 15th Lok Sabha from Jamshedpur Lok Sabha constituency. However, he resigned in 2010 to take over as chief minister of Jharkhand. One of the key leaders of the BJP in Jharkhand, Munda served three non-consecutive terms as chief minister. He was first elected an MLA from Kharsawan in 1995. He went on to win the seat three consecutive times before losing in the 2014 state elections.

Nishikant Dubey - Godda

Sitting MP Nishikant Dubey will be seeking his third consecutive term in the Lok Sabha from Godda. Known for his active participation in the Lok Sabha, Dubey entered electoral politics in 2009 and won the Godda seat. In his previous avatar, Dubey held the position of director in Essar.

Sudarshan Bhagat - Lohardaga

Union Minister Sudarshan Bhagat will be contesting from Lohardaga, which he has been representing since 2009. Bhagat is the incumbent MoS for Tribal Affairs. He previously held the portfolios of social justice and empowerment, rural development and agriculture. Beginning his career in Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), he proceeded to BJYM before entering the Jharkhand Assembly in 2000. He also served in the first ever government of Jharkhand.

Jayant Sinha - Hazaribagh

Union MoS Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha will contest his second straight election from Hazaribagh. Jayant, son of former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, entered national politics in 2014. He defeated his nearest Congress rival by a margin of over 1.5 lakh votes in the 2014 elections. Before being shifted to the civil aviation ministry, Sinha served as a Minister of State for Finance. Prior to entering politics, Sinha was a management consultant and senior fund manager.

 

Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.

Updated Date: Apr 08, 2019 08:28:04 IST

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