Lok Sabha elections 2019: Day after Mayawati snub, Congress’ 16 names dampen alliance hopes in UP
Congress’ second list, which also has 16 names from Uttar Pradesh, comes a day after Dalit powerhouse Mayawati explicitly ruled out any possibility of teaming up with the Congress, not just in Uttar Pradesh but in any state.
The Congress on Wednesday named 21 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh including former ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde, Milind Deora, Sriprakash Jaiswal and former MP Priya Dutt. The second list of Congress candidates includes five from Maharashtra.
The list, which also has 16 names from Uttar Pradesh, comes a day after Dalit powerhouse Mayawati explicitly ruled out any possibility of teaming up with the Congress, not just in Uttar Pradesh but in any state.
One of the 16 in the Congress list is former Bahujan Samaj Party lawmaker Kaisar Jahan who joined the party just last week. She will be the Congress candidate from Sitapur in eastern UP, a seat that she had won in 2009 as a BSP candidate. In 2014, she was the runner-up from this seat.
There were party veterans in the Congress list as well. Such as Uttar Pradesh unit chief Raj Babbar who has been fielded from Moradabad and Sriprakash Jaiswal from Kanpur. Dalit leader Savitri Phule who had quit the ruling BJP just months earlier was also accommodated in the second list.
Wednesday’s list is seen to end hopes of the backchannel talks between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party-BSP combine getting anywhere in a hurry.
The Congress had last week announced 11 candidates from Uttar Pradesh, a move that was seen by a section of the party to reflect hardening of the stance in the back and forth between the two opposition camps.
Wednesday’s list means the Congress has already named candidates on 27 seats including Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli.
The Congress said it respects the SP-BSP alliance but wants to create a space for Congress’s ideology in the biggest of the states. “We respect that they (SP and BSP) have formed an alliance between themselves…But we want to create a space for Congress’s ideology in the biggest of the states; that is state of Uttar Pradesh and that is why we have decided to fight all seats,” senior Congress leader Randeep Surejwala said.
Uttar Pradesh sends 80 lawmakers to the Lok Sabha. In the BSP-SP seat sharing pact that has been announced, the Mayawati-Akhilesh team has already allocated 38 seats to the BSP, 37 to the SP and 3 to Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal.
The nomination of Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Sinh from Sultanpur indicates that the Congress will not follow the suggestions of a section of its leaders who were against giving tickets to sitting legislators and members of the Upper House. Sinh is the Rajya Sabha member from Assam and his term is set to expire on April 9, 2020.
The Congress has also given ticket to former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kamalapati Tripathi’s great grandson Lalitesh Pati Tripathi from Mirzapur besides ex-MPs Ratna Singh (Pratapgarh) and Zafar Ali Naqvi (Kheri).
The party has announced five candidates from Maharashtra, fielding former union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde from Solapur (reserved for Scheduled Castes), ex-union minister Milind Deora from Mumbai South, former Members of Parliament (MPs) Nana Patole from Nagpur against Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Priya Dutt from Mumbai North Central.
Prominent tribal leader Namdeo Dalluji Usendi has been fielded from Gadchiroli-Chimur seat.