India’s ruling BJP picks parliamentary candidates ahead of April elections

India’s ruling BJP picks parliamentary candidates ahead of April elections

Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will select candidates for the upcoming April 9 parliamentary elections. Candidates

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Photo: Reuters

Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will select candidates for the upcoming April 9 parliamentary elections.

Candidates reportedly under consideration range from Bollywood actors, national singing stars, former army officers, young entrepreneurs and sports stars like Olympic medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. The star-studded list of potentials is a bid by the BJP to win new seats in territories and states that traditionally do not vote for the party. It is part of a wider strategy to expand on its 282-seat parliamentary majority.

Wooing celebrities is not a new strategy for Indian political parties. The opposition Congress Party has flirted with Bollywood and sports stars in prior elections and on a lower-scale this election, to varying degrees of success—some successful celebrity candidates fail to complete their term.

Whether the final list of candidates will prove as celebrity-studded as speculation suggests is still up in the air. Ultimately, if successful, the wooing of celebrities could be a real boon for party leadership, as these stars are unlikely to rock the boat and have no real personal political convictions, making them easy to control.

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