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Narayan Rane among BJP's 18 RS candidates

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

With an eye on the upcoming state polls, the today announced its 18 candidates, including former and several of its central office bearers, for the Rajya Sabha's biennial elections.

general secretaries and Saroj Pandey, its spokespersons and G V L and are among the candidates, according to a party statement.

had recently quit the to join the and has been rewarded with a ticket for the from With ally announcing a split in the alliance with the BJP for the next Lok Sabha polls, the party believes that the strengthen its base in the state.

At a time it enjoys unprecedented strength in several state assemblies, which elect members to the Upper House, the party has put its faith in a number of relatively young leaders, including Baluni and Rao, who are set to make their debut as parliamentarians, while also keeping social arithmetic in mind.

It has opted for Kirori Lal Meena, an who had fought against it in the last Assembly polls in Rajasthan, as its candidate from the state where it is perceived to be facing anti-incumbency against the

Almost all the candidates are certain to win due to the party's numerical strength in respective state assemblies, party sources said. However, it may face a fight in

Baluni, who heads the party's media departments, has been fielded from Uttarakhand while Rao, a and psephologist as well, will file his nomination from

Rao hails from Andhra Pradesh, where the BJP's ties with its ally TDP have soured of late with the latter withdrawing its members from the central government.

Former Kerala BJP chief V Muralidharan will be its second candidate from Maharashtra.

Saroj Pandey, who had lost the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, has been fielded from Chhattisgarh, Madan Lal Saini from Rajasthan, Lt Gen D P Vats (retd) from Haryana, and from Madhya Pradesh, Chandrasekhar from Karnataka and from

The choice of Soni and Singh would help the party in the state going to the polls with and Chhattisgarh, party sources said. Chandrasekhar was last time elected to the as an but has been a vocal supporter of the central government.

From Uttar Pradesh, where the party is set to win eight of the 10 seats going to the polls, its other candidates are Ashok Bajpai, who had quit the SP to join the BJP, former farmers cell chief Vijay Pal Singh Tomar, Sakal Deep Rajbhar, and Harnath Singh Yadav, besides Jain and Rao.

The party opted for a in to reach out to the Scheduled tribes.

The name of Arun Jaitley, besides a number of other Union ministers had figured in the first list of candidates announced on March 7.

Polls to elect 58 members are scheduled to be held on March 23 and the last date of filing nomination is tomorrow.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, March 11 2018. 22:45 IST