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5 Union Ministers On BJP's 2nd List, Piyush Goyal Set For Electoral Debut

5 Union Ministers On BJP's 2nd List, Piyush Goyal Set For Electoral Debut
Mr Thakur will contest from Hamirpur.
New Delhi: 

Releasing its second list of 72 names for the Lok Sabha elections on Wednesday, the BJP has fielded five Union ministers from various states, including Piyush Goyal, who is set to make his electoral debut. His colleagues on the list are Nitin Gadkari, Anurag Thakur, Pralhad Joshi and Rao Inderjit Singh. 

Mr Goyal, who has been a three-time Rajya Sabha member, has been fielded from the Mumbai North seat, which has been held since 2014 by Gopal Shetty of the BJP. The minister - who holds the commerce and industry, textiles, and food and consumer affairs portfolios - joins health minister Mansukh Mandaviya and junior IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, among others, who will be making their Lok Sabha debut. 

The decision is in line with the BJP's strategy of making as many ministers as possible contest the Lok Sabha polls and win, instead of making their way into the Cabinet through the Rajya Sabha.

The choice of Nitin Gadkari as the candidate from Nagpur, seen as important also because it is home to the RSS headquarters, should not be surprising because the Road Transport And Highways Minister has been elected from the seat since 2014. Tongues had, however, begun to wag when Mr Gadkari's name was not in the first list of 195 candidates released on March 2, which had featured other party heavyweights like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray had even asked the minister to join hands with the opposition if he was "being insulted" by the BJP. Mr Gadkari had, however, rejected the INDIA bloc leader's invite and dubbed it "immature" and "ridiculous".

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur's name is one of two released for the four seats of Himachal Pradesh. He will contest from Hamirpur, a constituency he has won since 2008 and was also held by his father, Prem Kumar Dhumal, before him. 

Keeping up its focus on the south - where the BJP needs to do well to get its tally up from the 303 Lok Sabha seats it won in 2019 to the 370 it wants this time - the party has fielded Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi from Dharwad in Karnataka. Mr Joshi has been the MP from Dharwad since 2009 and Karnataka had contributed 25 of the 29 seats the BJP had won from the southern states in 2019.

Rao Inderjit Singh, who is the minister of state with independent charge of the Ministry of Statistics and holds other portfolios as well, will contest from Gurgaon. He has held the seat since 2009. 

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