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Bihar polls: BJP focusses on women, youth, backward castes in first list of 43 candidates

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New Delhi: BJP on Tuesday night released the first list of 43 candidates for the high-stakes Bihar polls, giving about 60 per cent representation to those from SC and backward castes in an apparent attempt to target the base of rival JD(U)-RJD combine.
Five nominees in the list are Yadavs, the most numerous OBC group which has traditionally backed RJD’s Lalu Prasad but is being vigorously wooed by BJP.
Over 50 per cent of the candidates are women and youth while close to 60 per cent belong to SC and backward castes, said senior BJP leader and Union Minister JP Nadda while releasing the list after the meeting of the party’s Central Election Committee.The list carries the names of 26 sitting party MLAs while three sitting legislators have been denied party ticket.
BJP became the first main party to announce its candidates for elections to the 243-member Bihar Assembly that will take place between 12 October to 5 November.
“We have tried to give representation to all communities,” Nadda told a press conference.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 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.
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 Modi, who has pulled out all stops to wrest the state from ally-turned-foe Nitish Kumar’s JD(U).
BJP’s leader in the outgoing Assembly, Nand Kishore Yadav, is among those whose names were announced today. 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 subsequent lists will have Muslim names, said Nadda, flanked by Bihar BJP chief Mangal Pandey, Bihar in-charge Bhupender Yadav and another state leader Shahnawaz Hussain.
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).
The CEC deliberated for over two hours and was attended among others by Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari.
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 contest 160 seats while LJP, RLSP and HAM
(secular) will contest in 40, 23 and 20 constituencies.
BJP ally RLSP expressed its displeasure over the BJP list saying the talks were still on about distribution of seats among the NDA constituents.
A spokesperson for Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha-led party said this announcement was against “coalition dharma”.
Party sources said they were keen on contesting a few seats among the 43, for which BJP today announced its candidates.

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