The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has finalised the first list of 60 candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls in West Bengal. Sources told India TV that the party could release the list on Friday evening.
Earlier on Thursday, the BJP's Central Election Committee (CEC) met to finalise party candidates for the first two phases of the Assembly polls in West Bengal and Assam. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president JP Nadda, Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Thawar Chand Gehlot, Jual Oram, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Bihar minister Shahnawaz Hussain, among others, were present in the meeting being held at the party headquarters in Delhi.
From West Bengal, party state in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya, state unit chief Dilip Ghosh, Union ministers Babul Supriyo and Debasree Chaudhary, national Vice President Mukul Roy, Suvendu Adhikari and Rajib Banerjee were present at the meeting.
The BJP has high stakes in West Bengal and Assam. The BJP has emerged as the ruling TMC's main rival by winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in the 2019 general elections. It has now mounted an aggressive, all-out campaign, deploying a number of leaders drawn from various states and considered adept in poll campaigning, to end the 10-year-old reign of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The eight phases polling will take place on March 27, April 1, April 6, April 10, April 17, April 22, April 26 and April 29. Results will be declared on May 2. The term of West Bengal Legislative Assembly will expire on May 30.
Reports say that the CEC also discussed candidates for the seats that will go to the polls in the first two phases in Assam on March 27 and April 1. Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonawal, party state in-charge Baijayant Panda and other senior leaders were present at the meeting, besides Assam poll in-charge Narendra Singh Tomar and co-incharge Jitendra Singh.
In Assam, where the party came to power for the first time in 2016, the BJP has been pulling out all the stops to retain power, with the Congress joining hands with regional parties to capture its old bastion.