Ahead of the UP elections, BJP finalised its candidates for 172 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh and is likely to field both Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya who are currently members of the Legislative Council, party leaders said.
Polling in most of these 172 seats will be held in the initial phases beginning February 10 and the party is also considering fielding Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma and state unit president Swatantra Dev Singh.
Addressing the media at the BJP headquarters, Maurya said the party held wider deliberations on the 172 assembly seats and will register a bigger victory than the 2017 assembly polls.
BJP president J P Nadda and Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, all three of whom have contracted the coronavirus, joined the meeting via video conferencing, while Home Minister Amit Shah and several other leaders besides those from Uttar Pradesh, including Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, met physically.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also scheduled to join the meeting virtually. According to party sources, Adityanath is likely to be fielded from Ayodhya and Maurya from Sirathu constituency. Sharma may contest from one of the assembly constituencies in state capital Luknow.
A five-term former Lok Sabha member from Gorakhpur, Adityanath is currently a member of the state's Legislative Council. The party is likely to announce its first list of candidates in the next few days, the sources said.
As many as 58 and 55 seats of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly will face the polls on February 10 and February 14 respectively. The state is scheduled to have seven-phase polls.
Uttarakhand, Goa and Punjab assembly polls will also be held on February 14. The BJP is likely to drop a number of sitting MLAs to neutralise anti-incumbency at the local level.