New Delhi, Jan 16: Former Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Laxmikant Vajpayee, grandson of former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh and the party's national secretary Shrikant Sharma are among the 149 candidates whose names the BJP announced today for the state assembly polls.
Most of the seats will go to the polls in the first two phases on February 11 and 15. Vajpayee has been fielded from Meerut, from where he is the sitting MLA, Singh's grandson Sandeep Singh and Sharma will make their maiden entry in electoral fray from Atrauli and Mathura respectively.
Releasing the list, the party's Central Election Committee's Secretary J P Nadda said it has accommodated various sections of society. The CEC had met last night to finalise candidates.
It has retained sitting MLAs, including Sangeet Som and Suresh Rana, both accused in Muzaffarnagar riot cases, dismissed as a conspiracy by them, in the list. However, mystery remained over the fate of Union Home Minister and UP heavyweight Rajnath Singh's son Pankaj Singh whose name did not figure in the list.
BJP has withheld announcement of its candidates for some seats, including Sahibabad and Noida-- two seats from where Pankaj Singh's name has been doing the rounds. Seven-phase polls for the 403 seats are taking place in UP on February 11, 15, 19, 23, 27, March 4 and 8. The party's CEC will meet again tomorrow to announce names of more candidates.
While it is buoyant about its prospects in a state where it has been out of power since 2002 and has seen the arrival of sitting MLAs and leaders from various rival parties into its fold, there is speculation that Swami Prasad Maurya, a top BSP leader who had joined the saffron party months back, is unhappy with the leadership over its choice of probable candidates.
The party has been pulling out all stops to capture power in UP, which in terms of political implications is more important than all other four poll-bound states combined.