BJP set to contest highest number of Lok Sabha seats in party history
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may end up contesting the highest number of Lok Sabha seats in its history, according to a party leader. It has so far announced 408 Lok Sabha candidates, which is 20 less than its 2014 tally of 428.
“There will be at least 30 more names,” the leader said.
The BJP fielded candidates for 433 seats in 2009, 364 in 2004 and 339 seats in the 1999 polls. Lok Sabha has 543 seats.
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The BJP is yet to announce its seven candidates for Delhi. The announcement was delayed because of a tug of war within the state unit, and later due to a wait-and-watch strategy the BJP adopted amid seat-sharing talks between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress, according to people aware of the developments.
The BJP is due to announce another eight nominees for Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state that sends 80 members to Parliament’s lower House.
It is yet to finalise names for eight seats in Madhya Pradesh, including Indore and Bhopal.
The BJP’s announcement of candidates for the three seats it will contest in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab, two seats in Haryana and one in Rajasthan, too, is pending. “These names will be announced in the next couple of days,” a second BJP leader said.
A higher number of BJP candidates are contesting since the BJP has no alliances in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The BJP had allied with Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party for the 2014 national polls. The BJP is contesting all 42 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It contested just 12 in 2014. The BJP is, however, contesting fewer seats in Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam because of alliances.
“The BJP started by establishing itself through alliances, which meant sacrificing expansion plans. Now it has established itself. The party is clearly trying to expand to new territories,” said New Delhi-based Institute for Policy Research and Governance secretary general Aditya Jha.