2024 Lok Sabha polls | BJP starts early, to name some candidates in February, hold jumbo meeting in Delhi

Senior BJP leaders said a meeting of the party’s national council is likely to be held in February

Updated - January 10, 2024 11:42 pm IST

Published - January 10, 2024 07:43 pm IST - NEW DELHI

BJP president J.P. Nadda and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma during a roadshow in Guwahati on January 10, 2024.

BJP president J.P. Nadda and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma during a roadshow in Guwahati on January 10, 2024. | Photo Credit: ANI

A big party jamboree in Delhi in February, early announcements of some candidates and fighting on more seats than they did in 2019 are some of the features of the BJP’s poll preparation going into the Lok Sabha elections later this year.

Senior BJP leaders said a meeting of the party’s national council — which includes members elected to attend from State councils, 10% of the BJP’s parliamentary party, office-bearers of the party, legislature party leaders from various States, all members of the national executive and anyone who may be nominated by the BJP president — is likely to be held in February.

Also read | BJP to focus on youth, first-time voters for Parliament polls

The last national council meet held in January 2019, months before the Lok Sabha polls, was held in the backdrop of the BJP losing all three Hindi-speaking States, not the case this time around. In that 2019 meet, Home Minister Amit Shah, then BJP president, had put forward a parable to motivate the party cadre — that of the Marathas, a great military force in the 18th century, who won battle after battle, but lost the decisive third battle of Panipat against Ahmad Shah Abdali, leading to a decline in their power thereafter, and the ushering in of colonialism.

For this electoral battle, however, other tactics are also going to be deployed, including announcing a few candidates as early as the beginning of February, before the announcement of poll dates. “This tactic had worked for the BJP in the recently concluded polls in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan,” said a source. These seats could be the 160 seats deemed “vulnerable” by the BJP in 2022, that is, seats where the BJP has never won or has stood second, where an organisational push is needed to convert to victory.

For example, seats like like Nawada, Vaishali, Valmiki Nagar, Kishanganj, Katihar, Supaul, Munger, Jhanjharpur, Gaya and Purnea are in the list of vulnerable seats in Bihar, with Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Vellore, Kanniyakumari and Chennai (South) making the cut in Tamil Nadu. Candidates for these seats may be announced earlier than usual.

Vulnerable seats up

The number of “vulnerable seats” had been increased from 144 in mid 2022 to 160 after the BJP lost alliance partners, the Janata Dal (U) in Bihar and the Shiv Sena (UBT) in Maharashtra. This, losing of the partners, has also led to the fact that the BJP will be fighting its highest number of seats ever in the Lok Sabha polls. In 2019, the BJP fought 436 out of 543 seats, losing in only 133 seats in those polls.

For these larger number of seats, sources in the BJP said, two-term Rajya Sabha members, including members in the Union Council of Ministers have been sounded to identify the Lok Sabha seats where they could contest. “As a general rule, Ministers and MPs with more than two Rajya Sabha terms will be asked to contest the Lok Sabha polls this time around, except perhaps some who hail from States where the BJP does not enjoy political dominance but where it likes to maintain representation via the Rajya Sabha route,” said a source.

If the candidate selection procedure for polls in the three Hindi-speaking States of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh are anything to go by, political watchers are in for a few surprise inclusions and drops.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.