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New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday announced its first list of 195 candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking re-election from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. The list, which was released by BJP National General Secretary Vinod Tawde at the party’s Delhi headquarters, includes 34 central ministers and ministers of state and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

The party also announced 15 candidates from Gujarat, where BJP president Amit Shah will make his Lok Sabha debut from Gandhinagar, replacing veteran leader LK Advani. Union Minister Mansukhbhai Mandaviya will contest from Porbandar.

LIVE: BJP Press Conference at party headquarters in New Delhi. #PressConference https://t.co/s0BUb3oFph

— BJP Gujarat (@BJP4Gujarat) March 2, 2024

Other prominent names in the list are Union Minister for Law and Justice Kiran Rijiju from Arunachal West, BJP MP Bishnu Pada Ray from Andaman & Nicobar, BJP MP Tapir Gao from Arunachal East, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal from Dibrugarh in Assam, and Union Minister Smriti Irani from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, where she will take on Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

The BJP also fielded Praveen Khadelwal from Chandni Chowk seat, Manoj Tiwari from North East Delhi, Bansuri Swaraj from New Delhi seat, Kamaljit Sehrawat from West Delhi, and Ramvir Singh Bidhuri from South Delhi.

The party announced candidates for 51 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, 20 in West Bengal, five in Delhi, one each in Goa and Tripura, and 16 other states and Union Territories. The list also reflects the party’s focus on women and young leaders, as 28 women and 47 candidates under the age of 50 were given tickets.

The BJP is aiming to retain its majority in the 543-member Lok Sabha, where it had won 282 seats in 2014. The elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, and the results will be declared on May 23.