Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath will contest next month’s Assembly elections from Gorakhpur city, the Bharatiya Janata Party announced on Saturday as it released the first list of candidates.

Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya will contest from Sirathu city in Prayagraj district.

The Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh will be held in seven phases starting from February 10. Polling for Gorakhpur, which is the chief minister’s stronghold and voted him to the Lok Sabha for five consecutive terms from 1998 to 2017, will be on March 3.

Addressing a press conference, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the party has listed candidates for 57 out of 58 seats for the first phase of the elections and 48 out of 55 seats for the second phase.

The BJP has given more than 68% tickets to women and candidates from the backward class communities, India Today reported. However, no Muslim candidate has been fielded by the saffron party.

In the list, only 10 women candidates have been named by the BJP. Candidates for the other 296 seats in the state’s 403-member Assembly will be announced later.

Pradhan, who is also the BJP’s in-charge for Uttar Pradesh, said Adityanath was ready to contest from any seat. Reports had earlier suggested that the chief minister was likely to fight the polls from the temple town of Ayodhya or Mathura.

The Union minister expressed confidence that the BJP will win over 300 seats in the Assembly elections. “The BJP has provided welfare and sensitive governance in Uttar Pradesh in the last five years,” he added.

Adityanath also said that the party would return to power in the state with an “overwhelming majority”, PTI reported.

“I express thanks to the prime minister, national president and BJP Parliamentary Board who decided to field me from Gorakhpur Urban seat in the current assembly elections,” he said.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, however, took a jibe at BJP’s decision to field Adityanath from Gorakhpur.

“As far as contesting elections is concerned, earlier it was said that he [Adityanath] will contest from Mathura, Prayagraj, Ayodhya or Deoband,” he said. “I am happy that the BJP has already sent him home [Gorakhpur].”

Yadav added that he will not be allowing any more MLAs or ministers who quit BJP to join his party.

On Friday, former Uttar Pradesh ministers Swami Prasad Maurya and Dharam Singh Saini joined the Samajwadi Party in Lucknow.

Five other Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs – Brijesh Prajapti, Bhagwati Sagar, Roshanlal Verma, Mukesh Verma and Vinay Shakya – also switched sides and joined the Samajwadi Party at a virtual rally held in Lucknow.