Congress pits BJP rebel Nana Patole versus Gadkari

The Congress on Wednesday announced its second list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections fielding former BJP MP Nana Patole against Union Minister Nitin Gadkari from Nagpur.

Former Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde will be in the fray from Solapur, while young leaders Priya Dutt and Milind Deora have been fielded from Mumbai North-Central and Mumbai South seats respectively.

Congress announced the candidates for five seats in Maharashtra and 16 seats in Uttar Pradesh.

Patole, the chairman of the AICC Farmers' Department, quit the BJP after a spat with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017. He was the first BJP Lok Sabha member to quit the BJP.

Uttar Pradesh Congress President Raj Babbar has been fielded from Moradabad, while former union minister Sriprakash Jaiswal will test the electoral waters from his stronghold of Kanpur.

The other key names in the party's second list include firebrand Dalit leader Savitribai Phule from Bahraich, and former BSP leader Kaiser Jahan from Sitapur. Phule, a Lok Sabha member from Bahraich, quit the BJP to join the Congress earlier this month.

Lalitesh Pati Tripathi, a young leader considered close to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, has been fielded from Mirzapur. Tripathi is the grandson of former UP chief minister and Congress stalwart late Kamalapati Tripathi.

Sanjay Singh, Rajya Sabha member and the scion of the Amethi royal family will contest from Sultanpur, while former Parliamentarian Ratna Singh, from the principality of Kalakankar, will be in the fray from Pratapgarh.

Rakesh Sachan, who crossed over to the Congress from SP, has been fielded from Fatehgarh Lok Sabha seat, which he lost in the 2014 elections to the BJP.

Sachan is a prominent leader of the Kurmi community and fell foul with the SP leadership after it decided to join hands with arch-rival BSP.

Former Lok Sabha member Priya Dutt had written to Congress President Rahul Gandhi opting out of the Parliamentary elections but was persuaded by the leadership to enter the fray.

The Congress has also decided to field Namdev Usendi form Gadchiroli-Chimur in Maharashtra, Omwati Jatav (Nagina in UP), Zafar Ali Naqvi (Moradabad), Manjari Rahi (Misrikh), Ramashankar Bhargava (Mohanlalganj), Parvez Khan (Sant Kabir Nagar), Kush Saurabh (Bansgaon), Pankaj Mohan Sonkar (Lalganj) and Bhagwati Prasad Choudhary (Robertsganj).

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Congress pits BJP rebel Nana Patole versus Gadkari

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