The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress, which announced an alliance on January 22 after finally coming to a consensus on seat sharing, on Tuesday made last minute changes to their candidates for Ghaziabad’s assembly seats. The Congress will finally be contesting from three seats in the district, and the SP from the remaining two.
On Tuesday, two SP candidates – Rashid Malik from Loni and Ram Asre Sharma from Modi Nagar – filed their nominations at the district election office. The Congress had earlier declared the names of former MP Surendra Prakash Goel from Murad Nagar, Sher Nabi Chaman from Loni, former BSP MLA and now Congressman Amarpal Sharma from Sahibabad and former MLA KK Sharma from Ghaziabad City seats.
With Malik filing his nomination, Chaman is out of contention for Loni. SP’s Ram Asre Sharma, a former chairman of the Modi Nagar municipal corporation, filed his nomination papers and replaced SP’s Ram Kishore Agarwal as candidate.
“We will now be going with two seats of Loni and Modi Nagar. Instead of Agarwal, we have decided to field Ram Asre Sharma as candidate,” said Sajid Hussian, district SP president.
In a show of support, Agarwal accompanied Ram Asre for filing the nomination papers.
“Whatever has happened has happened for the best. I have got full support from Agarwal ji,” Sharma said.
With the Congress-SP alliance taking shape, the stormy relationship between two former Congress heavyweights Surendra Prakash Goel and Surendra Kumar Munni took another rocky turn. Goel filed his nomination as Congress candidate from the Murad Nagar seat. Munni, a long-time Congressman, had recently switched sides to the SP to get a ticket. While his name had figured in one of the previous three lists issued by the SP, the nomination from the seat has now gone to Goel.
“I will still want him (Munni) to support me. People know me all over and in and around the district. For the past several decades, I have shared a deep bond with them. I will continue to work for development,” he said.
With Goel contesting, the hopes of another SP candidate, Dishant Tyagi, have also been dashed. His name had figured as Murad Nagar candidate in one of SP’s earlier lists. He is considered close to the Shivpal Yadav camp in SP.
On Tuesday, Tyagi arrived with his supporters and filed his nomination as an independent candidate.
“They dropped my name, but it would not be fair for me to join any other party. I am contesting as an independent from the same seat and will prove my support in Murad Nagar. I was denied the ticket for which I had worked hard on the ground,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congress candidate Amarpal Sharma filed his nomination from Sahibabad on Monday. Sharma is a sitting MLA who was recently expelled by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), after which he joined the Congress. From the Ghaziabad City seat, former MLA KK Sharma, a veteran leader, filed his nomination.
From the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), last-minute nominee Sultan Singh Khari reached the collectorate on Tuesday and filed his nomination from the Ghaziabad City seat. With a candidate declared for this seat as well, the RLD will now contest all five seats in Ghaziabad district. The party was expected to form an alliance with Congress and SP, but that tripartite alliance didn’t come through.