The BJP on Saturday released its first list of 107 candidates for the first two phases of Uttar Pradesh elections 2022, allocating the biggest chunk of tickets in this tranche for OBC leaders, followed by women and youth.
In its candidates’ list, the party has denied tickets to around 20% sitting MLAs to shed the tag of being a party for forward castes.
Almost 60% candidates declared on Saturday are from the OBC category. The party believes this would counter some big-ticket resignations by OBC MLAs, including two ministers, from the BJP in recent days. More than 10 MLAs had followed minister Swami Prasad Maurya, who eventually joined the Samajwadi Party, out of the BJP.
Of the 107 candidates declared, 44 names were from the OBC category, while 19 were from the Scheduled Castes and 10 were women.
The party has fielded Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from Gorakhpur Urban and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya from Sirathu in Prayagraj.
Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters the list has 63 sitting MLAs, including ministers Suresh Khanna, Suresh Rana and Shrikant Sharma, while 20 have made way for others. Former Uttarakhand governor and now BJP vice-president Baby Rani Maurya, a Dalit, has been fielded from Agra (rural). Pankaj Singh, the son of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, will again contest from Noida seat.
Highlighting the BJP’s outreach to marginalised communities, Pradhan said the party has fielded a Dalit candidate from a general category seat and will name more of them from unreserved seats in its coming lists for the Uttar Pradesh polls.
The BJP had contested the 2017 Assembly polls on the plank of fighting corruption and restoring law and order in the state, and the Yogi Adityanath government has done so, Pradhan, who was joined by BJP general secretary Arun Singh, said.
“The state is now riot-free, he claimed, adding a lot of development works, including the establishment of colleges and highways, have taken place under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Uttar Pradesh now ranks high in the list of the beneficiaries of the Modi government’s housing scheme, free cooking gas cylinder programme and Ayushman Bharat,” he said.
BJP president JP Nadda said every BJP worker has worked round the clock for people and the party is committed to the progress of every section of society in the state. “I am confident that every BJP candidate will emerge victorious with a big majority with people’s blessings and support,” he said.