UP Cong reposes faith in old-timers

Renomination of 18 MPs triggers revolt

Hard pressed to maintain its tally of 21 seats from Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress has reposed faith in old hands by renominating as many as 18 MPs. It has also fielded four other legislators besides a few new faces, including a cricketer and a Bhojpuri film star in the state.

The Congress list of candidates from UP has triggered a revolt and a senior state leader embarked on a dharna in front of the party office here, accusing the state in-charge and Congress General Secretary Madhusudan Mistry of selling tickets.

Faced with a daunting task of repeating its 2009 performance, the party has refrained from taking any risk though in the process it has earned the wrath of many a senior leaders, including a Union minister.

Barring Raj Babbar and Mohammed Azaharuddin, who represented Ferozabad and Moradabad constituencies respectively, all the MPs have been renominated. Jagadambika Pal, who had won from Doomeriyaganj, had recently resigned from the Congress. The party is yet to select its nominee for that seat.

Sources said Raj Babbar has expressed his desire to shift his constituency to Ghaziabad.  But senior leader Surendra Goyal is against it. Similarly, Azharuddin has urged the high command to shift him elsewhere. MP from Baharaich, Kamal Kishore too had sought to shift to Bansgaon but it was not agreed to.

Four legislators – Sanjay Kapur, Kazim Ali Khan, Vivek Singh and Sanjay Jaiswal have also been given tickets. Party sources said expelled SP leader and film actress Jaya Prada can be fielded from Moradabad.

Congress, in an apparent bid to capture new seats, has fielded popular Bhojpuri film star Ravi Kishan from Jaunpur. Ravi Kishan is hugely popular in the eastern region.  Cricketer Mohammed Kaif too has been fielded from Phulpur, which was represented by former prime minister Jawahrlal Nehru.

The selection fuelled revolt in the party and state general secretary Shyamlal Pujari had to be expelled from the party after he embarked upon a dharna in front of the party office. Pujari alleged that old and loyal party workers were ignored by the leadership.
Union minister Beni Prasad Verma too had criticised the selection formula for the LS nominees.

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