The Congress party announced its first list of candidates for the Uttar Pradesh assembly election that begins on February 11, hours after it announced an alliance with the Samajwadi Party.
After sealing the deal with the incumbent ruling party, Congress released 41 names for the first two of the seven phases it is contesting, fielding senior party leader and former union minister Jitin Prasada from the Tilhar (Shahjahanpur) assembly seat.
A former union minister, Prasada is a young leader and known Brahmin face of the Congress in the state.
Also among the candidates is Imran Masood from Nakur (Saharanpur), known for his hate speech against Prime Minister Narendra Modi during 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Sitting MLAs CLP leader Pradeep Mathur (Mathura), Pankaj Kumar Malik (Shamli), Gajraj Singh (Hapur), Bansi Singh Pahadia (Khurja) and Sanjay Kapoor (Bisalpur) were included apart from former MPs and ministers.
Two BSP turncoats -- Anis Ahmad Khan alias Phool Babu (Bisalpur) and Amarpal Sharma from Sahibabad assembly seat of Ghaziabad -- have also been given tickets, with KK Sharma, also from Ghaziabad.
Further, the Congress has fielded Mukesh Chaudhary from Deoband where its sitting MLA Mavia Ali has got a ticket from alliance partner, the Samajwadi Party. Former MP Surendra Goel has been fielded from the Muradnagar seat while former minister Deepak Kumar has been fielded from Purkaji (reserve) constituency. Former Congress MP Saif Ali Naqvi’s son has also been given a ticket from Pallia.