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LUCKNOW: BJP is ready with its first list of 172 candidates for the UP elections, most of them for seats that will go to polls in the first three phases, after a meeting in New Delhi on Thursday put its seal of approval on the names that are likely to be declared either on Friday or Saturday.
As reported by TOI on Thursday, CM Yogi Adityanath is tipped to be fielded in Ayodhya and deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya in Sirathu. Maurya was elected from Sirathu in 2012. The other deputy CM, Dinesh Sharma, could contest from either Lucknow North, Lucknow East or Bakshi Ka Talab. Sources said the overarching view within BJP was that Yogi’s candidature from Ayodhya would strengthen the saffron party’s Hindutva moorings, which remain at the core of its pursuit of a second successive term in office.
Maurya said at a presser at the BJP headquarters that the leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was of the opinion that the party would register a bigger victory than in the 2017 assembly polls. Modi attended the meeting in virtual mode, as did BJP president JP Nadda and Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, all three of whom have are recuperating from Covid. Union home minister Amit Shah, CM Yogi and several other central functionaries were among those physically at the venue.
In the first list, BJP is understood to have decided to repeat minister Suresh Rana from Thana Bhawan, although a decision on Bhupendra Chaudhary’s can

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