The BJP fielded Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi constituency and its president Amit Shah from Gandhinagar in place of L K Advani as it's announced its first list of 184 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections.
Senior party leader J P Nadda told a press conference that the party also decided to field union home minister Rajnath Singh from Lucknow and another union minister Nitin Gadkari from Nagpur. Both leaders had won from these seats in the last general election.
Union minister Smriti Irani has been renominated from Amethi and will take on Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Union minister Kiren Rijiju to fight from Arunachal East. The BJP has also renominated Union ministers VK Singh and Mahesh Sharma from Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddha Nagar (Noida), respectively.
The BJP announced its candidates from many states, including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura. The BJP has finalised names of all 17 party candidates from Bihar and sent the list to the state unit which will announce it jointly with allies, Nadda said.
On Friday, an all-out political slugfest broke out after Congress leader Sam Pitroda questioned the government's aggressive action against Pakistan post-Pulwama terror strike, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi lambasting the Opposition, saying the remarks only reflect that the Congress was unwilling to respond to forces of terror.
Leading the BJP charge, Modi also said Pitroda, Congress president Rahul Gandhi's "most trusted advisor and guide", has kick-started Pakistan's 'National Day' celebrations on behalf of his party, "ironically by demeaning India's armed forces". Pakistan celebrates its 'National Day' on March 23.
Countering Modi's tirade, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "the truth is that Prime Minister Modi is hiding behind the valour and bravery of our Army and Air Force, and is playing politics on the opinion of an individual leader, which is his personal opinion and not of the party. He is playing such politics as he does not wish to reply on the charges of corruption against him and his government."
Also, the Congress sought an investigation by the Lokpal into allegations that Rs 1,800 crore bribes were paid by former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to top BJP leadership.
Citing a media report, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should come forward and clarify whether bribes to the tune of Rs 1,800 crore were taken by the top BJP leaders as mentioned in the diaries, allegedly of Yeddyurappa.
The BJP denied the charges, with party chief Amit Shah saying that after all the "fake issues" have collapsed, the Congress is now desperately relying on forgery.
"The Congress campaign is in shambles. Now even forgery can't save them. Few loose sheets given by a Congress minister is only as credible and reliable as (Congress chief) Rahul Gandhi's leadership skills," Shah said on Twitter.
To discuss all the political developments, CNBC-TV18 spoke to Sangeeta Pisharoty, deputy editor of The Wire; Arun Giri, election analyst; Sharat Pradhan, senior journalist; Neerja Chowdhury, senior journalist; Syed Zafar Islam, spokesperson of BJP; Ghanshyam Tiwari, Spokesperson of SP and Naseer Hussain of Congress.