New Delhi: The central election committee of the BJP will meet on Thursday to finalise its first list of candidates for five assembly polls, with top party leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expected to attend the meeting. The party is likely to clear its candidates for the first phase of the polls, scheduled for March 27, in Assam and West Bengal.
The BJP core groups of the two states will deliberate with the central leadership, including party president J P Nadda, to narrow down the list of probables before the CEC picks the candidates. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and state party chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass will be part of deliberations for their state, while key organisational leaders from West Bengal, including state party chief Dilip Ghosh, will attend the meeting to discuss the names of candidates for their state.
Elections in Assam will be conducted in three phases on March 27, April 1 and April 6, while polling in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will take place in a single phase on April 6. Elections for the West Bengal assembly will be held in eight phases, up from seven last time, beginning with polling for 30 seats on March 27.
The second phase of the West Bengal assembly elections has been scheduled for April 1 and will cover 30 constituencies, followed by the third phase on April 6 for 31 seats, fourth on April 10 for 44 constituencies, fifth on April 17 for 45 seats, sixth for 43 seats on April 22, seventh phase on April 26 for 36 seats and the last and eighth phase on April 29 for 35 seats. The BJP has high stakes in West Bengal and Assam. While in Bengal, it has mounted an aggressive all-out campaign, deploying a number of leaders drawn from various states and considered adept in poll campaigning, to end the 10-year-old reign of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
In Assam, where the party came to power for the first time in 2016, the BJP has been pulling out all the stops to retain power, with the Congress joining hands with regional parties to capture its old bastion.