NEW DELHI: BJP's Central Election Committee tonight held a meeting to finalise its candidates for Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand assembly polls. The party is likely to announce candidates for a majority of 70 seats in the hill state, which goes to polls on February 14 and for the seats in UP.
The seven-phase UP assembly polls start from February 11. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah besides other CEC members attended the meeting. Another CEC meeting is scheduled for Tuesday in which names of more candidates will be finalised.
It had held its first meeting on January 11 in which candidates for Goa and Punjab polls were finalised. In the run up to the CEC meeting, Shah has been holding deliberations with top party leaders from Uttar Pradesh to narrow down differences over likely party candidates and evolve a consensus.
In Uttar Pradesh, which has a 403-member House, polls will be held on February 11 (73 constituencies), February 15 (67 constituencies), February 19 (69), February 23 (53), February 27 (52), March 3 (49) and March 8 (40) Shah has been pulling out all stops to lead the party to victory in UP, which in terms of political implications is more important than all other four poll-bound states combined. It has been out of power in Uttar Pradesh since 2002 and was a declining force till the 'Modi wave' catapulted the party to an unprecedented success in 2014 Lok Sabha polls when it won 71 of the 80 seats.
Party sources believe that it may not be possible for the saffron outfit to repeat the 2014 feat of capturing over 42 per cent of vote share but it hopes to emerge a winner in the state's fractured polity by garnering more that 30 per cent of votes. SP and BSP won a majority of 403 seats in 2012 and 2007 assembly elections by pulling in 30.4 and 29.16 per cent of votes.