New Delhi, Feb 27 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday announced its first list of 54 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections and fielded former party president Nitin Gadkari from Nagpur.
The list was announced after a meeting of the party's central election committee.
It includes candidates for Jammu and Kashmir, Arunchal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh and has several sitting and former parliamentarians.
Former union minister Shanta Kumar has been fielded from Kangra in Himachal Pradesh while Anurag Thakur, president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, has been retained as candidate from Hamirpur.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP fielded state chief Jugal Kishore Sharma from Jammu and state spokesman Jitender Singh from Udhampur.
Other candidates from Jammu and Kashmir include Thunpsthan Chhweang (Ladakh), Mushtaq Ahmad Malik (Anantnag) and G.M. Meer (Baramulla).
The BJP declared 17 candidates from West Bengal, including former lawmaker Tapan Sikadar (Dum Dum), state party president Rahul Sinha (Kolkata Uttar), and magician P.C. Sorcar Jr. (Barasat).
Apart from Gadkari, 17 candidates declared from Maharashtra include sitting parliamentarians Gopinath Munde (Beed), Hansraj Ahir (Chandrapur), Dilip Gandhi (Ahmadnagar) and former MP Kirit Somaiya (Mumbai North East).
The party fielded former lawmaker Kiren Rijiju from Arunachal West and another former parliamentarian Tapir Gao from Arunachal East.
Shripad Y. Naik was retained from North Goa and Narendra K. Sawaikar has been fielded from South Goa.
In Odisha, the BJP has fielded Jual Oram from Sundargarh and Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo from Bolangir. The party declared six candidates from Odisha.
The party retained Virender Kashyap as its candidate from Shimla.