DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from his current Parliamentary constituency Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, sources said on Tuesday. Modi retained Varanasi and resigned from Vadodara after winning both seats in the 2014 election. Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Textile Minister Smriti Irani, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma and Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh may also contest elections from their current Lok Sabha seats.Also, the BJP, according to sources, may deny tickets to at least 22 of its sitting MPs, including veteran leader Murli Manohar Joshi, on the grounds of performance.
Among those who may face the axe are: Murli Manohar Joshi from Kanpur, Sharad Tripathi from Sant Kabir Nagar, Harish Dwiwedi from Basti, Ram Charitra Nishad from Machhlishahr, Harinarayan Rajbhar from Ghosi, Anshul Verma from Hardoi, Bharat Singh from Balia, Ravindra Kushwaha from Salempur, Chotelal from Robertsganj, Krishna Pratap from Jaunpur, Daddan Mishra from Shravasti, Devendra Singh from Akbarpur, Ashok Dohrey from Etawah, Anju Bala from from Misrikh.
Babu Lal from Fatehpur Sikri, Satyapal Saini from Sambhal, Pushpendra Singh from Hamirpur, Dharmendra Kashyap from Aonla, Rekha Verma from Dhaurahra, Bharatendra Singh from Bijnor, Sathish Gautam from Aligarh and Lallu Singh from Faizabad may also be dropped.
Sakshi Maharaj, who warned his party of consequences in case he is denied ticket, may also face the axe.
The BJP may consider fielding another OBC candidate in place of Sanjiv Balyan against RLD chief Ajit Singh, sources said.
With Modi known for dropping a number of incumbents in order to beat the anti-incumbency factor, the saffron party has been abuzz with speculation over the fate of its sitting MPs.
Among those who may get the tickets are: Mahendra Pandey from Chandauli, Manoj Sinha from Gazipur or Balia, Satish Mahana from Kanpur, Virendra Singh from Bhadohi, Kanwar Singh Tanwar from Amroha, Ramashankar Katheria from Agra, Hema Malini from Mathura, Satya Pal Singh from Baghpat, Navin Jain from Fatehpur Sikri and Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh from Kaiserganj.
The list may also include Santosh Gangwar from Bareilly, Rajveer Singh from Etah, Kirti Vardhan from Gonda, Vinod Sonkar from Kaushambi, Pankaj Chaudhary from Maharajganj, Rajendra Aggarwal from Meerut, Raghav Lakhanpal from Saharanpur and Krishna Raj from Shahjahanpur.
Uttar Pradesh sends a maximum of 80 MPs to Parliament. The BJP had won 71 Lok Sabha seats out of 80 in UP in the 2014 parliamentary elections but it lost three seats in the Lok Sabha bye-elections, including Gorakhpur and Phulpur. Polling for 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases in Uttar Pradesh from April 11 to May 19. Results will be announced on May 23.