The BJP on Thursday released the first list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha election, featuring 184 names. The list included the names of heavyweights like Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah, home minister Rajnath Singh, transport minister Nitin Gadkari, among many others.
Senior party leader JP Nadda released the list at a press conference on the day of Holi, following three marathon meetings of its central election committee (CEC). Here's a look at all the key names that featured in BJP's first list of candidates:
Narendra Modi " Varanasi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek re-election from the holy city of Varanasi. In 2014 election, Modi won the seat by a margin of over 3.3 lakh votes, defeating his nearest rival Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal. As per the alliance deal between the BSP and Samajwadi Party, Varanasi will be contested by a Samajwadi Party candidate this time. With the Congress yet to reveal its candidate for this constituency, a triangular contest is expected in Varanasi.
Raghav Lakhanpal " Saharanpur
Raghav Lakhanpal has been re-nominated to contest from Saharanpur, which saw communal polarisation in the aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013. The three-time former MLA will once again be contesting against Congress' Imran Masood, whom he defeated in the 2014 election by a margin of over 65,000 votes. With the Muslims constituting 45 percent of the Saharanpur population, Lakhanpal will be banking on the consolidation of Hindu votes against the Congress and 'mahagathbandhan' candidates.
Satyapal Singh " Baghpat
In the 2014 elections, Union minister and former Mumbai Police chief Satyapal Singh recorded a massive vicotry by defeating former Union Minister Ajit Singh by over 3 lakh votes. In the upcoming election, he will take on Jayant Choudhary, son of Ajit Singh, who is fighting as a RLD candidate backed by the mahaghatbandhan.
General VK Singh " Ghaziabad
Former Indian Army chief General VK Singh, who joined the BJP in March 2014, scored a historic victory in Ghaziabad constituency after defeating Congress leader Raj Babbar by a whooping margin of over 5.67 lakh votes. He subsequently became an MoS in the Modi cabinet. In the upcoming election, Singh is expected to have a face off with Samajwadi Party's Suresh Bansal and Congress candidate Dolly Sharma.
Mahesh Sharma " Gautam Buddh Nagar
Mahesh Sharma, the incumbent culture minister, will be fighting for re-election from Gautam Buddh Nagar Lok Sabha constituency. In the last election, Sharma beat Narendra Bhati of the Samajwadi Party by a margin of over 2.8 lakh votes. In the upcoming elections, the Samajwadi Party-BSP combine has fielded Satbir Nagar as its candidate against Sharma. Recently, the Union minister sparked a controversy after he mocked Congress general-secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Hema Malini " Mathura
Actress Hema Malini won the Mathura seat in 2014, defeating RLD leader and then sitting MP and Jayant Choudhary by over 3,30,000 votes. Since her victory, however, she has been facing flak from party workers for allegedly ignoring the constituency. This time the actress-turned-politician will be taking on RLD's Narendra Singh from the Jat-dominated Lok Sabha constituency.
Santosh Kumar Gangwar " Bareilly
Union Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar will be fighting his eighth election from Bareilly. Since 1991, he has only lost once " 2009 elections " from this constituency. However, the new alliance between Samajwadi Party and the BSP may pose a threat to the electorate arithmetic of Bareilly, where Muslims have a significant presence.
Rajnath Singh " Lucknow
Home minister Rajnath Singh will be contesting from the BJP bastion of Lucknow for the second consecutive time. Singh won the last election by a margin of over 2.7 lakh votes. He had defeated incumbent Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Ritu Bahuguna Joshi, who was then with the Congress. Lucknow has been with the BJP since 1991, when former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee first won the seat. He continued to represent the constituency till 2009 before making way for his protÃ©gÃ© Lalji Tandon.
Sakshi Maharaj " Unnao
The controversial godman will be seeking his re-election from Unnao, after reportedly threatening the party high command of consequences if not given a ticket. Sakshi Maharaj won the 2014 elections from Unnao by a margin of over 3 lakh votes. This time, Unnao is expected to witness a three-cornered fight between Samajwadi Party, Congress and the BJP.
Smriti Irani " Amethi
After losing to Congress president Rahul Gandhi by a margin of just over 1 lakh votes, Union textiles minister Smriti Irani will once again contest from the Congress pocket borough. Since 2014, Irani made several visits to Amethi to interact with the locals as well as party workers, indicating her interest in developing the constituency.
Sanjeev Balyan " Muzzaffarnagar
One of the main accussed in the Muzaffarnagar riots, Sanjeev Balyan won the seat after defeating sitting MP Kadir Rana of the BSP by over 4 Lakh votes. Balyan was later inducted into the Union Council of Ministers as MoS. This election is expected to be tougher for Balyan since the coming together of Samajwadi Party and BSP would affect the minority, Dalit and Jat vote banks. A face off is expected between Balyan and veteran RLD leader Ajit Singh, who is the mahagathbandan candidate.
Kunwar Bharatendra Singh " Bijnor Kunwar Bharatendra Singh, a Jat leader, will be seeking re-election from Bijnor, a key constituency in western Uttar Pradesh. A two-term MLA, Singh is also an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. In the last election, he defeated Shahnawaz Rana of the Samajwadi Party by over 2 lakh votes. This time, the main fight is expected to be between him and Maluk Nagar, the mahagathbandhan candidate.
Baiduram Kashyap " Bastar (ST)
A Member of Legislative Assembly from Jagdalpur, Baiduram Kashyap is the face of the Bharatriya Janata Party in the Bastar constituency. He replaces two-time member of Parliament Dinesh Kashyap, son of BJP leader Baliram Kashyap. Baiduram, 41, is the district BJP chief in Bastar. With almost 70 percent of its population belonging to the scheduled tribes, the constituency is reserved for ST candidates. A former MLA of Chitrakote, Baiduram is up against Deepak Baij of Congress. Baiduram, who has to woo tribal communities such as Gond, Maria, Muriya, Bhatra, Halba, Dhruva, faces stiff competition from the Congress in the Naxal-affected constituency.
Jammu and Kashmir:
Jitendra Singh " Udhampur
Jitendra Singh is the sitting member of Parliament of Udhampur constituency in Jammu and Kashmir after he beat Congress veteran and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. In his electoral debut in 2014, Singh was credited of bringing the constituency back to BJP after two consecutive Congress wins. In the BJP-led Central government, the 62-year-old is a Minister of State (MoS) for Prime Minister's Office and MoS (independent charge) for Development of North Eastern Region. Born into a Rajput family, Singh is a doctor with expertise in diabetes and endocrinology. He also has several books to his credit and has also been the BJP chief spokesperson for Jammu and Kashmir in the past.
Jugal Kishore Sharma " Jammu
Jugal Kishore Sharma won the Nagrota Assembly seat twice " in 2002 and 2008. He fought the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Jammu and defeated two-time MP Madan Lal Sharma from the Congress. He is also a member of the standing committee on rural development and of the consultative committee under Ministry of Power and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. It was during his tenure that the central government sanctioned a Rs 5,100-crore Jammu-Poonch National Highway project as well as the Jammu-Poonch rail-line project. Parts of his constituency lie on border areas and are often hit by heavy shelling. It was during his term that the central government began construction of over 14,000 safety bunkers. Having defeated Madan Lal Sharma by over 2 lakh votes in the 2014 election and riding high on the development projects, the 56-year-old is hopeful of a second term.
Alphons Kannanthanam " Ernakulam
Alphons Kannanthanam or KJ Alphons was one of the contenders for the much-sought-after Pathanamthitta constituency but the saffron party has decided to field him from Ernakulam " currently held by PV Thomas from Congress. A former civil servant, Alphons is currently the MoS for Tourism with independent charge. He had joined the BJP in 2011. A low profile Rajya Sabha MP, Alphons was in the spotlight in December 2018 when the Kerala High Court directed the Additional Director General of Police to investigate a four-year-old criminal case against him. With an eye on the Hindu votebank, particularly from the Nair community, on the sidelines of the Sabrimala agitations, Alphons announced Rs 85.23 crore for the state for developing a spiritual tourism circuit. This circuit will include 133 places of worship in Kerala.
Kummanam Rajasekharan " Thiruvananthapuram
Kummanam Rajasekharan was the governor of Mizoram and he resigned earlier in March to be able to contest in the Lok Sabha election. With a ticket from the Kerala capital, he is pitted against Congress veteran and two-time MP Shashi Tharoor. A former BJP Kerala president, the 66-year-old has been vocal about the Sabarimala issue. Sympathising with the agitators, he has often said that rules of one temple should not be applied to another. He has also spoken out against the Chief Electoral Officer's (CEO) gag order on using the Sabarimala row during election campaigning. Rajasekharan is allegedly backed by the RSS and the Sabarimala Karma Samiti. Tharoor, meanwhile has written to the CEO, alleging that Rajasekharan was using communalism in his campaign, an allegation that Rajasekharan has refuted.
Nihal Chand Chauhan " Ganganagar (SC)
Nihal Chand Chauhan is an MoS for Chemicals and Fertilisers. The 48-year-old, who belongs to the Meghwal community, has won the seat from Ganganagar four times. In the 2014 election, Chauhan beat his Congress rival by over 2.9 lakh seats. However, many party members in the state are against his candidature as he is one of the 17 accused in a 2011 rape case.
Arjun Ram Meghwal " Bikaner (SC)
Arjun Ram Meghwal, a two-time MP from Bikaner, won the seat in 2014 with a margin of over 3.08 lakh votes. The 66-year-old is a former IAS officer. According to an analysis by the National Election Watch and the Association for Democratic Reforms, Meghwal's assets grew by 608 percent between 2009 and 2014. Meanwhile, last week, BJP veteran from Rajasthan Devi Singh Bhati resigned from the party over Meghwal's nomination for the third time. Bhati alleged that Meghwal had campaigned against party candidates during the state Assembly elections.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathod " Jaipur Rural
Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathod, a sitting MP from Jaipur Rural, is the MoS with independent charge for Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The 49-year-old has served in the Indian Army for 23 years between 1990 and 2013. Before joining politics, he made India proud with several achievements in double trap shooting events. Rathore, who earned a gold medal in the 2002 Commonwealth games, holds the record of hitting 192 out of 200 targets. He won 25 international medals at various championships for double trap shooting and became the first Indian, post independence, to win individual silver medal at Athens Olympics, in 2004. He has been awarded the Padma Shri, Ati Vishisth Seva Medal, Arjuna Award and Khel Ratna.
Gajendra Singh Sekhawat " Jodhpur
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, current MoS for Agriculture and Farmer's Welfare, will again contest on a BJP ticket from Jodhpur. The 52-year-old has often been at loggerheads with the Congress-led state government over issues pertaining to farmers in the region. He has blamed the state government for not providing information to the Centre on farmers eligible for the Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana. He is likely to face stiff competition from the Congress in his constituency, which is considered the home turf of chief minister and Congress leader Ashok Gehlot. This time, the grand old party is likely to field Gehlot's son Vaibhav from Jodhpur.
Ajay Tamta " Almora (SC)
In the 2014 general elections, BJP candidate Ajay Tamta defeated Congress candidate Pradeep Tamta to become the MP from this constituency. An MoS for Textiles, he is the only MP from Uttarakhand in the current Union Cabinet. The 49-year-old politician is hailed as a Dalit leader and has strong connections to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He also faces an anti-incumbency wave, especially after residents of Timta village in Pithoragarh cried foul over his adoption of the village. The residents said that while the MoS had promised to adopt the village and bring development projects, he had not done so.
Ajay Bhatt " Nainital-Udhamsinghpur
Uttarakhand BJP chief Ajay Bhatt has been asked to contest the elections from Nainital-Udhamsinghpur after incumbent MP Bhagat Singh Koshiyari refused to run for elections owing to his age. After losing the 2012 state election to the Congress, Bhatt has been the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. He then became the chief ministerial candidate in the 2017 elections when BJP won with a sweeping majority. However, because Bhatt lost the seat in Ranikhet, he could not be made the chief minister.
Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank " Haridwar
In the 2014 general election, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank won with a majority of over 1.77 lakh votes. He had defeated Renuka Rawat, wife of Congress veteran and former chief minister Harish Rawat. Ramesh served as the Uttarakhand chief minister between 2009 and 2011. Hailing from the Pauri region of the state, he is likely to face some opposition from his electorate as he doesn't belong to Haridwar. Referred to as an astute politician, he has held several portfolios in the state cabinet and is considered to be a 'people's man'. He might be up against former chief minister Harish Rawat, who may contest from Haridwar or Nainital.
D Purandeshwari " Vishakhapatnam
Daggubatti Purandeshwari will return to contest from the Vishakhapatnam constituency after a decade. The 40-year-old politician was elected MP from Vishakhapatnam in 2009 on a Congress ticket. In 2014, she joined the BJP and fought from Rajampet constituency and lost. Daughter of Telugu Desam Party founder NT Rama Rao, Purandeshwari is currently the chief of BJP's Mahila Morcha. In 2004, she had represented the Bapatla constituency and also served as the MoS for Human Resource Development. Earlier in 2019, her husband Daggubati Venkateswara Rao and son Hitesh Chenchuram met YSRCP chief Jaganmohan Reddy, kicking off speculation about a switch in parties. However, she clarified that she would stick to the BJP. She was then appointed chairperson of the committee responsible for preparing the election manifesto in Andhra Pradesh. The Vishakhapatnam seat is currently held by Kambhampati Hari Babu from BJP.
Tapir Gao " Aruanchal East
Tapir Gao will be fighting from Arunachal East constituency after losing to sitting MP Ninong Ering of the Congress party by a margin of 12,000 votes in the 2014 election. Gao, who is the president of the Arunachal Pradesh unit of the BJP, previously represented the constituency between 2004 and 2009. James Lowangcha Wanglat of the Congress is the main opponent for Gao in the upcoming election.
Kiren Rijiju " Arunachal West
MoS for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju will be fighting for his re-election to the Parliament from the Arunachal West constituency, which he first represented between 2004 and 2009. His main opponents will be the Congress, which announced ex-chief minister Nabam Tuki as its candidate, and National People's Party.
Jual Oram " Sundargarh (ST)
Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram will be seeking his fifth term as a Lok Sabha MP from Sundargarh in Odisha. After consecutively winning the seat between 1998 and 2004, Oram lost the 2009 elections to former chief minister Hemananda Biswal. He was the only BJP candidate to win his seat in the 2014 election, which was otherwise swept by the BJD.
Baijayant Panda " Kendrapara
Baijayant 'Jay' Panda will be contesting the election for the first time as a BJP candidate. Panda, who quit the BJD in early 2018, has been representing Kendrapara since 2009. Panda, who is also an industrialist, was a Rajya Sabha member between 2000 and 2009. Panda, who was once close to Odisha chief minister Naveen Pattnaik, joined the BJP in March 2019 and was immediately appointed one of the vice-presidents of the party.
Aparajita Sarangi " Bhubaneswar
The former IAS officer of the Odisha cadre, Sarangi will be entering the electoral battlefield for the first time. She had joined the party in November 2018 after taking voluntary retirement in September of that year. Sarangi's last posting was in the Ministry of Rural Development, where she was a Joint Secretary in-charge of MGNREGA. She gained prominence in Odisha when she served as Bhubaneshwar's Municipal Commissioner between 2006 and 2009.
H Raja " Sivaganga
The national secretary of the BJP and prominent face of Tamil Nadu unit of the party is set to contest from Congress stronghold of Sivaganga. In the last election, Raja secured the third position as PR Senthilnathan won the seat by over 2 lakh votes. In the coming election, the fight is expected to be between the Congress " which is part of the DMK-led alliance " and the BJP, which is in alliance with AIADMK. Congress is yet to announce its candidate, but there are speculations about former finance minister P Chidambaram's son Karti, who also contested the last election, being fielded from this constituency.
Tamilisai Soundarrajan " Thoothukkudi
The president of the Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP, Sounderrajan will take on Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK's late patriarch M Karunanidhi. In the past, Sounderrajan fought the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from the Chennai North constituency but came third.
Pon Radhakrishnan " Kanyakumari
The Union minister will be fighting for his third term in the Lok Sabha. In the 2014 elections, he was the only BJP candidate who won from Tamil Nadu. Radhakrishnan had also won from the same constituency in 1999, when it was called Nagercoil. He is likely to face a tough challenge from the Congress party in the upcoming elections.
Arjun Singh " Barrackpur
Four-term MLA Arjun Singh joined the BJP in March 2019. He will face-off with sitting MP and former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi. Singh, who is known for the support he has among party cadres, was miffed with Mamata Banerjee for denying him a Lok Sabha ticket.
Chandra Kumar Bose " Kolkata Dakshin
Chandra Kumar Bose, the grandson of Sarat Chandra Bose and grand nephew of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, has been BJP's face in Bengal in the last three years. He will make his electoral debut in Kolkata Dakshin, the former pocket borough of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. According to reports, BJP is keen to use his familial ties with Netaji to strike a chord with the Bengali voters.
Rahul Sinha " Kolkata Uttar
Rahul Sinha, the national secretary of the party and the former chief of the Bengal unit, will fight from Kolkata Uttar for the second consecutive time. In 2014, he lost to senior TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyaya, who is also in the fray this time.
Babul Supriyo " Asansol
One of the two winners in the state from the BJP in the last Lok Sabha election, Babul Supriyo is currently a minister in the Modi Cabinet. According to reports, he has been campaigning in the constituency for a month now. He is pitted against veteran actress Moon Moon Sen, who was dubbed a giant killer after she defeated nine-time CPM MP Basudeb Acharia in Bankura in 2014.
Dilip Ghosh " Medinipur
The BJP state unit chief will be fighting from Medinipur. Ghosh, who is currently an MLA representing the Kharagpur Sadar Assembly constituency, became defeated seven-term MLA Gyan Singh Sohanpal in the 2016 polls.
Subhash Ramrao Bhamre " Dhule
Bhamre is the sitting MP in the Dhule Lok Sabha constituency and the Union MoS for defence since 2016. Born on 11 September, 1953, he is an oncologist by profession and known to offer free treatment to cancer patients. He was among the "non-political" candidates fielded by the BJP in the 2014 election. His induction into the ministry in 2016 the Modi government's attempt to substitute the resignation party state unit chief Raosaheb Danve.
Heena Vijaykumar Gavit " Nandurbar(ST)
One of the youngest MPs, she defeated her opponent by more than one lakh votes in the 2014 general election. Her father Vijakumar Gavit was a minister in the Congress-NCP Maharashtra government who ended up losing his Cabinet berth because Heena joined the rival party. She is the only MP from the BJP in the 16th Lok Sabha to have asked more than 900 questions. She is currently a member of the Committee on the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Nitin Gadkari " Nagpur
An RSS product, Gadkari is the current Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. He formerly held the rural development, panchayati raj and drinking water and sanitation portfolios. Hailing from Nagpur, he was born on 27 May, 1957 and served as the PWD minister in the Maharashtra government from 1995 to 99. He was also elected as the BJP president in 2010. In 2014, Gadkari won the Nagpur Lok Sabha seat, defeating Congress leader Vilas Muttemwar. In the upcoming election, he will be taking on Congress' Nana Patole.
Hansraj Gangaram Ahir " Chandrapur
Ahir is the current Union Minister of State for Home Affairs. Born in Nanded, Maharashtra, he is a four-time MP from Chandrapur. He was earlier the MoS for Chemical and Fertilizers in the Narendra Modi government.
Raosaheb Patil Danve " Jalna
Maharashtra BJP unit chief and 4-time MP, Danve was the MoS for consumer affairs, food and public distribution in the current Modi government till March 2015. He was born in Javkheda, in Jalna district of Maharashtra in May 1977. He was recently involved in a bitter struggle with Arjun Khotkar, MoS in the Devendra Fadnavis government, who also wanted to contest the election from Jalna seat.
Poonam Mahajan " Mumbai-North-Central
Daughter of the late veteran BJP leader Pramod Mahajan and chief of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, she is the current Mumbai-North-Central MP. Mahajan has a diploma in leadership management from Brighton School of Business Management in UK. Since her electoral debut in 2009, she had networked and found favour with top BJP leadership. This time, Mahajan has been pitted against Congress leader Priya Dutt, whom she defeated in a high-profile contest in the last general election as well with the margin of nearly 1.86 lakh votes. However, the constituency has never elected the same party to power since 1980.
Sujay Vikhe Patil " Ahmednagar
Son of Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, Sujay joined the saffron party a few days ago and is set to make his political debut. A neurosurgeon by profession, his family has a strong hold in the constituency but the NCP was to contest on the seat as per the Congress-NCP seat sharing agreement. The Congress, however, had asked NCP to exchange the Ahmednagar seat for any other seat, but NCP chief Sharad Pawar reportedly refused the offer. The BJP ignored three-time sitting MP Dilip Gandhi. According to Sujay, the most pressing issue in the constituency is employment generation for the youth. He will be facing NCP MLA Sangram Jagtap.
Pritam Gopinath Munde " Beed
Former Union minister Gopinath Munde's daughter, Pritam made her political debut in 2014 when she won the Beed Lok Sabha bypolls following her father's death in June 2014. She defeated former Congress minister Ashok Patil by more than 7 lakh votes. Top leaders of the BJP, including Modi and Amit Shah, had campaigned for her at that time.
Assam >Queen Ojha " Guwahati
She is a former mayor of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation. The BJP has fielded her from the Guwahati Lok Sabha seat which is considered to be one of the toughest electoral battlegrounds in the state due to its diverse voter base. Ojha will be contesting the election in place of Union minister Bijoya Chakraborty, who has been at the seat since 1999. This will mark Ojha's electoral debut at the national level. ""I am extremely happy, but this happiness comes with a lot of responsibility. I am overwhelmed by the support by party members and well-wishers. I am confident of winning," Ojha told News18.
Rameswar Teli " Dibrugarh
Born on 14 August, 1970 in Duliajan, Assam, Rameswar Teli is the sitting MP in the Dibrugarh Lok Sabha constituency. The BJP won the seat for the first time in 2014. Teli defeated Paban Singh Ghatowar of the Congress by 1,85,347 votes at that time. Among all MPs from the state, Teli has the lowest educational qualification, being a matriculation passout in 1989. At present, he is a member of the Committee on the Welfare of Other Backward Classes in the parliament.
Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi " Bijapur(SC)
Born in Atharga, Bijapur, Jigajinagi is the sitting Bijapur MP and Union MoS for Drinking Water and Sanitation since 2016. He has won five Lok Sabha elections in a row since 1998 even as he switched parties before joining the BJP. The Dalit parliamentarian entered politics under the leadership of Ramakrishna Hegde, who was the late leader of undivided Janata Party. Jigajinagi gained popularity in the northern drylands of the state when he was an MLA from Chikkodi, known for its sugar. He is reportedly known to assert his caste identity without taking a confrontational stand.
Umesh Jadhav " Gulbarga
Former Congress two-time MLA from Chincholi, Jadhav defected to BJP in March after submitting his resignation to the Assembly speaker Ramesh Kumar on 4 March. The disgruntled MLA had reportedly expressed his displeasure over not landing a ministerial berth in the HD Kumaraswamy government. He will be pitted against Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress.
Anantkumar Hegde " Uttara Kannada
Born in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district, Hegde is a 5-time MP. He became the Union MoS for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in September 2017. He is known for making inflammatory statements and courting controversy. During a speech in Kodagu in January, Hegde said that, "Regardless of caste and religion, a hand that touches a Hindu girl should not exist." When Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao objected to it, Hegde said he knew Rao only "as a guy who ran behind a Muslim lady". In the past, he has also compared Dalits to barking dogs and said the BJP is in power to change the Constitution.
Shobha Karandlaje " Udupi Chikmagalur
52-year-old Karandlaje is the sitting MP in the Udupi Chikmagalur seat. In 2014, she won the seat with a margin of 1.81 lakh votes by trouncing then Congress leader K Jayaprakash Hegde, who he joined the BJP later. She was a Karnataka MLC between 2004 and 2008 and was a state cabinet minister from 2008 to 2013. She will be pitted against Congress leader and former minister Pramod Madhwaraj.
A Manju " Hassan
Arkalgud Manju is another Congress rebel who recently joined the BJP on 18 March. He said he left the party for the "sake of principles" and said the Congress would get uprooted in Karnataka if the coalition government continued in the state. A three-term Arkalgud MLA, Manju won the Assembly constituency as a BJP candidate in 1999. He joined the Congress later and retained the seat in 2008 and 2013, serving as a minister in Siddaramaiah's Cabinet. However, he lost to JD(S)' AT Ramaswamy In the 2018 Assembly elections. Manju will be facing JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda's grandson Prajwal Revanna in the upcoming polls.
BY Raghavendra " Shimoga
Son of former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, Raghavendra won the Shivamogga Lok Sabha bypoll in 2018 with 4,89,959 votes, defeating Congress-JD(S) candidate Madhu Bangarappa by a margin of 47,388 votes. Born on 16 August, 1973, he became involved in local-level politics after his college graduation. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, he defeated former chief minister S Bangarappa from the Shimoga Lok Sabha seat. Raghavendra belongs to the Lingayat community which is a dominant caste group in Shivamogga