NEW DELHI—The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday announced the names of 43 candidates for the Bihar Assembly elections, becoming the first major party to come out with its nominees for the high-stakes polls.
While releasing the list after the meeting of the party's Central Election Committee, senior BJP leader and Union minister JP Nadda said over 50% of the candidates are women and youth while close to 60% belong to SC and backward castes.
The list carries the names of 26 sitting party MLAs while three sitting legislators have been denied party ticket. "We have tried to give representation to all communities," Nadda told a press conference.
Elections for the 243-member Bihar Assembly will take place between October 12 to November 5.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi besides all other CEC members attended the meeting chaired by party President Amit Shah.
The party has also tried to keep its core support base of upper castes happy with several Brahmins, Bhumihars, Rajputs and Kayashthas given tickets.
BJP's leader in the outgoing Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav is among those whose names were announced on Tuesday. He will contest from Patna Sahib.
No Muslim figured in the list which contained names for mostly those seats over which there is unanimity in the party.
The list included names of 19 candidates for the first phase and 15 for the second while nine others are for the seats going to polls later.
The first two phases have 49 and 32 constituencies going to polls and many of them will be contested by the party's allies, LJP, RLSP and HAM (secular).
Nadda, accompanied by Bihar BJP chief Mangal Pandey, Bihar in-charge Bhupender Yadav and another state leader Shahnawaz Hussain, said the subsequent lists will have Muslim names.
The CEC deliberated for over two hours and was attended among others by Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari.
The list underscored party's attempts to wean Yadavs away from Lalu Prasad and ensuring that sections of backward castes, upper castes and Dalits give solid backing to the NDA in what is being seen a prestige battle for Prime Minister Modi, who has pulled out all stops to wrest the state from ally-turned-foe Nitish Kumar's JD(U).
Party's chief whip in the outgoing assembly Arun Kumar, Renu Devi, Pramod Kumar, Prem Kumar and Nitin Naviun among others have been given tickets.
BJP will fight on 160 seats while LJP, RLSP and HAM (secular) will contest 40, 23 and 20 constituencies respectively.
See the full list here.