Congress Announces First List of Candidates for 2014 LS Elections
The Congress on Saturday announced its first list of 194 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections with the Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, contesting from their traditional bastions of Rae Bareli, Amethi in Uttar Pradesh and Sasaram in Bihar, respectively.
A few prominent names that were already doing the rounds, such as Aadhaar chairman Nandan Nilekani will be contesting from Bangalore South, former cricketer Mohd Kaif from Phulphur and former IPS officer Nikhil Kumar, who resigned as Kerala Governor two days ago from Aurangabad in Bihar.
Kaif was inducted to contest from Jawaharlal Nehru’s Phulpur constituency, in Uttar Pradesh, but was an indicator of the party’s state of affairs. Not all the Uttar Pradesh seats have been announced though.
Among other celebrities, Bhojpuri film star Ravi Kishen, Odiya actors Aparajita Mohanty and Bijay Mohanty have been fielded for the Lok Sabha polls.
Among the Union Ministers figuring in the list are: Sushilumar Shinde from Sholapur in Maharastra, Salman Khurshid from Farrukhabad, Sriprakash Jaiswal from Kanpur, Beni Prasad Verma from Gonda, all in Uttar Pradesh, Kamal Nath from Chhindwara and Jyotiraditya Scindia from Guna in Madhya Pradesh, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary from Behrampur West Bengal, Parneet Kaur from Patiala, Punjab, Girija Vyas from Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, K H Muniyappa from Kolar and Mallikarjun Kharge from Gulbarga, Karnataka.
The Congress first list significantly did not have names of actor-turned-MP Raj Babbar, cricketer-turned-MP Mhd Azharuddin and Jaya Parada (expected to join the party), over whose constituencies there’s little a bit of ‘negotiations’ on.
All of them are MPs from Uttar Pradesh who are looking for greener pastures. The Congress Election Committee general secretary Madhusudan Mistry, however, highlighted that 35 per cent of the candidates are under the age 50 and 15 per cent are women candidates, carrying an imprint of Rahul.
The first list also includes more than 60 sitting members from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, West Bengal, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajashtan, Karnataka and some north eastern states.
Former prime minister A B Vajpayee’s niece, Karuna Shukla is the nominee from Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, while Justice Hanumanthappa from Bellary in Karnataka.
Gujarat CLP leader Shankersinh Vaghela has been fielded from Sabarkantha, Union Minister Bharatbhai Solanki from Anand and Tushar Chaudhary from Bardoli while party general secretaries Mukul Wasnik, Gurudas Kamat, All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary Priya Dutt are among those renominated from their respective seats in Maharashtra.
This is for the first time in several years that the Congress has finalised so many candidates for the general elections soon after the announcement of the poll schedule.
A K Antony committee had recommended early candidate selection so as to give time to the nominees to campaign for the polls and prepare the ground for their massive victory.