The BJP on the night of 15 September released its first list of 43 candidates for the much-awaited Bihar Assembly elections.
It seems that the party is focusing more on backward classes as it gave around 60 per cent representation to those from the Scheduled and backward castes. Speculations are rife that this move is an apparent attempt to target rivals Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav.
Five nominees in the list are Yadavs, the largest OBC group which has traditionally backed RJD's Lalu Prasad but is now being vigorously wooed by the BJP.
The BJP has also focused on the representation of women and youth as over 50 per cent of the candidates are women and youth while close to 60 per cent belong to the SC and backward castes.
The list carries the names of 26 sitting party MLAs while three sitting legislators have been denied a party ticket.
BJP's leader in the outgoing Assembly, Nand Kishore Yadav, is among those whose names were announced today. He will contest from Patna Sahib.
The party has also tried to keep its core support base of upper castes happy with several Brahmins, Bhumihars, Rajputs and Kayashthas being given tickets.
The list included names of 19 candidates for the first phase and 15 for the second while nine others are for the seats going to polls later.
The first two phases have 49 and 32 constituencies going to polls and many of them will be contested by the party's allies, LJP, RLSP and HAM (secular).
No Muslim figured in the list which contained names for mostly those seats over which there is unanimity in the party.
The subsequent lists will have Muslim names, said union minister JP Nadda, flanked by Bihar BJP chief Mangal Pandey, Bihar in-charge Bhupender Yadav and another state leader, Shahnawaz Hussain.
With its announcement, the BJP became the first main party to announce its candidates for the 243-member Bihar Assembly polls which will be held from 12 October to 5 November.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all other CEC members attended the meeting chaired by party President Amit Shah.
The list underscored BJP's attempts to wean Yadavs away from Lalu Prasad and ensured that sections of backward castes, upper castes and Dalits backed the NDA in what is being seen as a prestige battle for Modi, who has pulled out all stops to wrest the state from ally-turned-foe Nitish Kumar's JD(U).
(with inputs from PTI)