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Defections force BJP ‘to drop’ 20 MLAs from candidate list

On Saturday, the BJP announced its list of candidates for the first two phases of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, scheduled to get underway on February 10. 20 MLAs have been denied tickets by the saffron party, as new faces are fielded in these regions instead. In the first two phases of voting, the BJP announced 107 candidates for the same number of seats. The ruling party won 83 seats in 2017.

MLAs from 63 of these seats have been retained, while 20 MLAs have been dropped from contesting polls. The move to axe as many as 20 MLAs from contesting polls is in the wake of a string of high-profile defections from the BJP this week. Two former cabinet ministers, several MLAs, and former chief minister Swami Prasad Maurya quit the BJP on Friday to join his rival Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party.

Yogi Adityanath, who will be running from Gorakhpur City, is foremost among the retentions. As of 2017, the CM is not a member of the UP legislative assembly, but was elected without opposition to the state’s legislative council. Later, candidates will be announced for the other 296 seats in the state’s 403-member Assembly. The BJP won 303 of the 403 assembly seats in the last elections in Uttar Pradesh in 2017. In a seven-phase election, the results of which will be announced on March 10, a new government will be sworn in in Uttar Pradesh.

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