Prime Minister Narendra Modi is chairing a meeting of the BJP’s Central Election Committee in Delhi, to potentially finalise a first list of candidates ahead of five key Assembly elections – four states and a union territory – over the next few weeks.
Party chief JP Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh are among those present, as the BJP gears up for polls in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Bengal and Assam.
According to news agency PTI, the party is likely to work on deciding candidates for the first phase of elections in Assam and Bengal, both of which are scheduled for March 27.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP’s go-to man in the northeast, and state chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass will voice inputs for for their state. Key leaders from Bengal, including state chief Dilip Ghosh, will discuss candidates for their state.
On Wednesday Mr Ghosh said Bengal BJP had shortlisted around four to five names per seat for the first two phases; Bengal votes over a massive eight phases, with the second set for April 1.
One of the Bengal constituencies voting in the second phase is Nandigram, which was the epicentre of a farmers’ movement that propelled Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to power 10 years ago, and from which she has said she will contest.
Nandigram is also the former seat of ex-Trinamool leader Suvendu Adhikari, whose crossover to the BJP in December last year sparked a flood of defections from Bengal’s ruling party.
In the high-stakes and high-voltage battle for Bengal, the Nandigram election will be seen many as a potentially election-defining one for Ms Banerjee, as she takes on her once-trusted lieutenant.
With input from PTI