NATIONAL

V.C. Shukla in BJP list

NEW DELHI, MARCH 14. The Bharatiya Janata Party's central election committee today finalised the list of candidates for the Orissa Lok Sabha seats, clearing names for eight of the nine seats it will contest. Juel Oraon will contest again from Sundergarh (ST) while Sangeeta Singh Deo from Bolangir.

The committee, chaired by party president, Venkaiah Naidu, accepted the proposals of its Delhi unit clearing five sitting MPs from their own constituencies and shifting Vijay Goel from Chandi Chowk to Sadar. No decision has been taken about the Chandni Chowk seat.

The party has also selected all six candidates for Jammu and Kashmir. It will field three Muslims in the seats in Kashmir, while Chamanlal Gupta will try his luck from his old seat, Udhampur, while the candidate from Jammu will be Nirmal Singh.

For Chhattisgarh, the committee cleared candidates for nine of the 11 seats, including six members of the dissolved Lok Sabha. Nand Kumar Sai who lost in the Assembly election against the former Chief Minister, Ajit Jogi, will be fielded by the party from Sarguja, a reserved seat.

The former Congress leader, V.C. Shukla, who then went to the Nationalist Congress Party and has now joined the BJP, has been selected to contest the Mahasamund seat.

The BJP cleared candidates for three of the four seats in Himachal: Shanta Kumar (Kangra); Suresh Chandel (Hamirpur) and Maheshwar Singh (Mandi).

All three were members of the dissolved Lok Sabha. Both the seats for Goa have also been cleared and members of the 13th Lok Sabha re-nominated as candidates: Shripad Naik (North Goa) and Ramakant Angle (South Goa).

In Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, the party has cleared some high profile names though the State lists have not yet been taken up: Mr. Advani (Gandhinagar), Kashiram Rana (Surat), Harin Pathak (Ahmedabad), Vallabhai Kathiria (Rajkot) and Bhavnabehn Chikalia (Junagarh) in Gujarat, and Sumitra Mahajan (Indore), Satya Narain Jatiya (Ujjain) and Faggan Singh Kulaste (Mandla-ST) in Madhya Pradesh.

Besides, the party cleared the name of its candidate for the Andaman and Nicobar, Bishnu Pada Ray, who won the seat for the party for the first time in 1999.

And in Uttaranchal, B.C. Khanduri will contest the Garhwal seat while Bachhi Singh Rawat will fight to retain Almora.

The election committee will sit tomorrow as well when the lists for Bihar, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are expected to be taken up in detail.

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