New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday evening released the first list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2019. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda announced names of 184 candidates contesting from Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand among others. Also Read - BJP's Troubleshooter, NE's Most Influential Politician Himanta Biswa Sarma to Take Oath as Assam CM Today

The list includes names of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, Union Minister Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, among others. They will contest the LS polls from Varanasi, Gandhinagar, Lucknow and Nagpur respectively. Also Read - Will Himanta Sarma Outplay Sonowal to Become Assam CM? Crucial Decision Today

Prominent faces replaced by BJP Also Read - EU Stands With India in 'Challenging Time', Modi Says 'Collaboration Essential' to Stop Pandemic

Amit Shah replaced senior party leader LK Advani in the Gandhinagar constituency, thus making his electoral debut.

The BJP announced the names of at least 28 candidates in Uttar Pradesh, replacing six sitting MPs, four of which were on seats reserved for scheduled castes. The six seats from where MPs have been replaced are- Shahjahanpur, Misrikh, Fatehpur Sikri, Hardoi, Sambhal and Agra.

In Agra, it replaced former union minister Ramshankar Katheria with minister in UP government SP Singh Baghel. In Badayun, UP legislator Swami Prasad Maurya’s daughter Sanghamitra will contest.

In Chhattisgarh, the saffron party announced candidates on five seats, replacing all the five sitting MPs. The decision in Chhattisgarh comes as no surprise as it had already announced that it would replace all its 11 candidates in the state.

In Rajasthan, the BJP announced 16 out of the 25 seats. It retained almost all of its sitting MPs, only replacing Jhunjhunu MP Santosh Ahlawat. In Odisha, Jay Panda, who recently switched from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to BJP, will contest on a BJP ticket from his Kendapara seat. Former bureaucrat Aparajita Sarangi will be BJP’s candidate from Bhubaneswar in Odisha.

In Maharashtra, the BJP announced candidates on 14-seats. In Mumbai North-Central, BJP will field sitting MP Poonam Mahajan against Congress party’s Priya Dutt. The BJP has fielded Sujay Vikhe Patil, son of senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, from Ahmednagar.

Other notable candidates announced are Kiren Rijiju from Arunachal East and Tapir Gao from Arunachal West seats. Former governor S Rajasekharan will be BJP’s candidate against Congress party’s Shashi Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. In West Bengal, Babul Supriyo will contest from his seat Asansol against Trinamool Congress’ Moon Moon Sen. Chandra Kumar Bose will contest from Kolkata South seat, Rahul Sinha from Kolkata North, Dilip Ghosh from Medinipur and actress Locket Chatterjee from Hooghly.

BJP Leaders’ React

After the first list of candidates was released, BJP MP from Mathura, Hema Malini thanked party president Amit Shah for allowing her to contest in this Lok Sabha polls. The actress said, “People wanted me to contest from here again, I’m thankful to Amit Shah ji and Modi ji for choosing me again. I will work hard and bring development to the area. I’m not like other politicians, people here like my work.”

Union Minister Smriti Irani too thanked Shah and took to Twitter to share the same. Irani congratulated all the candidates announced by BJP. She added, “Let us together work for #PhirEkBaarModiSarkar by ensuring lotus blooms in every constituency.”

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari too thanked BJP for putting their faith in him. He said, “Party has expressed its faith in me, I will win with an even better margin this time. People of Nagpur supported me last time as well. They are happy with our work, we will do even better after getting elected again.”

The Lok Sabha elections 2019 will be held in seven phases across the country. The elections will begin on April 11 and the counting of the votes will be held on May 23. Uttar Pradesh will vote in all the phases.