Five nominees in the list are Yadavs, the most numerous OBC group which has traditionally backed RJD's Lalu Prasad but is being vigorously wooed by BJP.

Over 50 percent of the candidates are women and youth while close to 60 percent belong to SC and backward castes,said senior BJP leader and Union Minister JP Nadda while releasing the list after the meeting of the party's CentralElection Committee.

The list carries the names of 26 sitting party MLAs while three sitting legislators have been denied party ticket. The BJP became the first main party to announce its candidates for elections to the 243-member Bihar Assembly that will take place between October 12 to November 5.

"We have tried to give representation to all communities,"Nadda told a press conference.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi besides all other CEC members attended the meeting chaired by party President Amit Shah.

The party has also tried to keep its core support base of upper castes happy with several Brahmins, Bhumihars, Rajputs and Kayashthas given tickets.

The list underscored party's attempts to wean Yadavs away from Lalu Prasad and ensuring that sections of backward castes, upper castes and Dalits give solid backing to the NDA in what is being seen a prestige battle for Modi, who has pulled out all stops to wrest the state from ally-turned-foe Nitish Kumar's JD(U).

BJP leader in the outgoing Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav is among those whose names were announced yesterday. He will contest from Patna Sahib.

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 Nadda, flanked by Bihar BJP chief Mangal Pandey, Bihar in-charge Bhupender Yadav and another state leader Shahnawaz Hussain.

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).

The CEC deliberated for over two hours and was attended among others by Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Nitin Gadkari.

Party's chief whip in the outgoing assembly Arun Kumar, Renu Devi, Pramod Kumar, Prem Kumar and Nitin Navin among others have been given tickets.

The BJP will fight on 160 seats while LJP, RLSP and HAM (secular) will contest 40, 23 and 20 constituencies.


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