New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will fight the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Varanasi, once again, the BJP parliamentary board decided on Friday. The number of alliance partners of the BJP was also decided to be doubled in order to face the mahagathbandhan challenge.

The meeting was convened to evaluate the poll preparedness ahead of the crucial 2019 elections. The party's highest decision-making body also finalised the party's strategy for the Lok Sabha polls. With Modi and president Amit Shah in attendance, the meeting went on for three hours, till late night.

Winability, allies are key

The party didn't go into individual names as it will be discussed in the central election committee meeting, say sources. But party leaders say, "winability" will be the key consideration in selecting candidates. 

The meeting also stressed upon the importance of smaller alliances across India. In contrast to 16 alliance partners in 2014, the BJP will have as much as 29 in 2019.

BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav announced a tie-up with All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) in Jharkhand. The regional party will be given one seat. But the seat that is given to AJSU is Giridih, a BJP stronghold where the party hasn't lost since many terms. It also shows, the importance the BJP is attaching to formation of alliances, going to 2019 general elections.

Reply to mahagathbandhan

The BJP has sensed a tight contest in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with the mahagathbandhan coming into being in the two states, and hence, has shored up its alliances. While the alliance with Nitish Kumar has been beefed up following a mutually acceptable seat-sharing formula, the BJP has ironed out its differences with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra too.

An alliance has also recently been struck with the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu.

The party is now thinking of expanding the portfolio of its alliance partners in states like Andhra Pradesh and Kerala as well.

Kerala presents a big challenge for the BJP. The state has 20 Lok Sabha seats, of which the party was able to clinch only one, after fielding candidates in 18 in 2014. This time around, the BJP has been focusing on an alliance with the Ezhava-dominated Bharatiya Dharma Jana Sena with an eye on Other Backward Classes (OBC) votes.

In Andhra Pradesh, the saffron outfit is wooing actor-politician Pawan Kalyan.