BJP on Friday announced candidates for 46 more Lok Sabha seats from the states of Kerala, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Punjab and Sikkim. After the breakup of its alliance with the Biju Janata Dal in Orissa, BJP announced the names of seven Lok Sabha candidates from the state.
In the state, the party will field M A Kharavel Swain (Balasore), Sangita Singhdeo (Bolangir), Anant Nayak (Keonjhar Scheduled Tribe), Jual Oram (Sundergarh-ST), Draupadi Murmu (Mayurbhanj- ST), Bikram Keshari Deo (Kalahandi) and Parshuram Majhi (Nabrangpur -ST).
The party also announced names of 24 candidates from West Bengal. They include sitting Member of Parliament Tapan Sikdar (Dum Dum), Bidyut Kumar Haldar (Behrampur), Jayanta Mondal(Bishnupur- Scheduled Caste), Abhijit Das (Diamond Harbour) and Jyotsna Bannerjee (Kolkata-South) among others.
BJP is fielding Arjun Saha from Bolpur (SC), which was a Left strong-hold till now and was represented by outgoing Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee. The seat has been made reserved post the delimitation.
The saffron party also announced candidates for eight Lok Sabha constituencies of Andhra Pradesh. Among them are Dandaru Dattatraya (Secundrabad), D V Subbarao(Vishakapatnam), N Venkataswamy (Tirupati-SC).
It also announced 43 names for the assembly election scheduled along with the Lok Sabha polls. Five candidates from Kerala were also announced today by the party. Som Prakash was declared the BJP candidate from Hoshiarpur (SC), Punjab, while Padam Bahadur Chettri will be the candidate from Sikkim.
Speaking on the seat sharing arrangement between the BJP and the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, senior leader Gopinath Munde said, "The BJP will contest 26 seats and the Sena will contest 22 seats. We have exchanged three seats with each other."
Munde added that the two parties would release a joint manifesto and will campaign for each other. Dismissing reports about rifts in the Sena-BJP alliance, he said, "There is no misunderstanding whatsoever. Balasaheb Thackery and L K Advani have the highest regard for each other."
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani and party president Rajnath Singh refused to comment on the controversy raked up by senior leader Arun Jaitley, over the appointment of Sudhanshu Mittal as the co-convener of the North Eastern states, during the party's Central Election Committee meeting.
Jaitley has made his displeasure over Mittal's appointment clear. Mittal, a close aide of late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, had been appointed a co-convener along with S S Ahluwalia.
Playing down reports of Jaitley's protests, Mittal told reporters in New Delhi, "I am a true soldier of the party and have been discharging my duties to the best of my abilities."