New Delhi: The BJP’s Central Election Committee is expected to meet on Saturday and Sunday to finalise its candidates for the upcoming state elections, with the party looking to conclude much of its deliberations on the contestants before the poll process formally begins.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and several other Union ministers, besides party chief JP Nadda, are among the members of the apex committee that takes the final call on the candidates.
Rajasthan is likely to figure for the first time in this third Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting related to the polls in five states, sources said.
It had discussed candidates for Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in the two earlier meetings.
With the party fielding three Union ministers, besides four other MPs, as candidates for the Madhya Pradesh assembly polls, it may continue with the strategy in Rajasthan. Union ministers Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Arjun Ram Meghwal and Kailash Choudhary are from the state where the BJP won all but one of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in 2019.
Assembly polls are also due in Telangana and Mizoram. The Election Commission is likely to set the electoral process formally rolling in all five states in the first half of October. The elections are likely to be held in November-December.
The BJP has so far named 79 candidates for the polls to the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly and 21 for the elections to the 90-member House in Chhattisgarh.
The development is a break from the past as the party generally names its candidates after the Election Commission’s announcement and the advance exercise marks its decision to give candidates ample to time to drive their campaigns, more so as it has so far concentrated on seats held by the Congress.
Of these five states, the BJP is in power only in Madhya Pradesh while the Congress holds the reins in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. The BRS is in power in Telangana and the Mizo National Front in Mizoram.
Shah and Nadda held a marathon meeting with Rajasthan leaders in Jaipur on Wednesday to give final shape to the party’s strategy and spell out the leadership’s agenda for the campaign.
The BJP is unlikely to name a chief ministerial candidate in any of these states, party sources have maintained.