The Congress has allowed finance minister P Chidambaram to step back and instead fielded son Karti P Chidambaram from Sivaganga constituency in Tamil Nadu.
In its fourth list of 50 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections released late Thursday, the Congress also named health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and former minister Mani Shankar Aiyar from Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir, and Mayiladuthurai in TN, respectively.
At a time when several Congress politicians are reluctant to contest the election, Azad and Aiyar , both Rajya Sabha members, had asked the party for a ticket.
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In keeping with the third list, the Congress retained the remaining two MPs from Delhi. Mahabal Mishra will contest from West Delhi while Ramesh Kumar will be the South Delhi candidate. The party has now named all seven Delhi candidates.
The list, which also named 30 candidates from TN and included three each from Bihar, J&K, Odisha, however, did not cover Punjab amid speculation that information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari, who is the Ludhiana MP, had been allowed to opt out on health grounds. For Amritsar, the choice is between former Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh and OP Soni, who lost the last election narrowly to BJP’s Navjot Singh Sidhu. This time, the BJP has fielded Arun Jaitley.
In Chidambaram’s case, the finance minister had made a strong pitch for Karti’s electoral debut. Minutes later, Karti explained: “My father has contested nine elections and thought it is time to give way. He is definitely not retiring from politics.”
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Karti called the opportunity to contest the LS polls “a huge challenge”.
But it is not going to be a cakewalk for the kin of another senior Congress leader in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress has pitted Laxman Singh against BJP heavyweight Sushma Swaraj from Vidisha. Swaraj had won the 2009 election by a margin of 400,000 votes. Laxman is the brother of AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh who has offered to go up against BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Varanasi.
Singh’s son in-law Paranjayaditya Sinh Parmar, whose name figured as a candidate from Panchamahal in Gujarat in the second list, has been dropped. Ramsingh Parmar replaces him.
In Udhampur, where Azad has been made the candidate, sitting MP Lal Singh would be considered for legislative council, party general secretary Madhusudan Mistry told reporters.
The Congress has declared candidates for 363 seats including four who were replaced in Thursday’s list.
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Expelled JD(U) MP Purnmasi Ram, who joined the Congress on Wednesday, has been brought in from Gopalganj in Bihar replacing Dilip Kumar Majhi, who was given the ticket earlier.
The Congress changed candidates for two more Bihar seats including Hajipur where it brought in Sanjiv Prasad Tony in place of Pratima Kumari. In Patna Saheb, Kunal Singh replaces Raj Kumar Rajan.
Among the prominent candidates from TN are Thirunavukkarassar (Ramanathapuram), once a close aide of MG Ramachandran, former minister EVKS Elangovan from Tiruppur, Mohan Kumaramangalam from Salem, R Prabhu from Coimbatore and Manicka Tagore from Virudhunagar.