The Congress is facing major a backlash from its state unit leaders, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, over the selection of Lok Sabha candidates, with allegations that many of those who got a ticket are scam-tainted people or turncoats.
UP Congress leaders are angry over the candidates picked for Kaiserganj, Domariyaganj, Moradabad, Rampur and Varanasi — a seat that may be contested by BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal.
The Congress may field Bhumihar leader Ajay Rai from Varanasi. A three-time BJP legislator, Rai had contested from Varanasi in 2009 on an SP ticket. His 2009 affidavit lists about four pending criminal cases. MP Rajesh Mishra is another claimant for the Varanasi seat.
The allocation of a ticket to Mukesh Srivastava from Kaiserganj also raised eyebrows. His name cropped up during the CBI probe into the National Rural Health Mission scam. Srivastava’s brother and sister-in-law were among those arrested for siphoning money from the scheme.
The party’s central leadership also received complaints over fielding Begum Noor Bano from Moradabad and her son Kazim Ali Khan, alias Naved Miyan, from Rampur. State leaders alleged that Miyan is a turncoat who started with the Congress, moved to the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party before returning to the Congress.
The Domariyaganj ticket to Kurmi leader Tarun Patel has upset Brahmin and Muslim leaders and has brought accusations that the party is ignoring the Muslims in eastern UP. The BJP has pitted ex-Congress leader Jagdambika Pal from the seat.
Other state unit leaders are unhappy too.