LUCKNOW: The Congress released its seventh list of 35 Lok Sabha candidates, out of which nine names were announced for Uttar Pradesh on late Friday evening.
While the party decided to shift UPCC chief Raj Babbar to Fatehpur Sikri from Moradabad, it gave a ticket to high profile BSP turncoat Naseemuddin Siddiqui from Bijnor.
Once a strongman of BSP and very close Mayawati, Siddiqui will replace Indira Bhati in Bijnore.
Moreover, the party also expressed faith in Bal Kunwar Patel, brother of dread dacoit Dadua, from Banda in Bundelkhand.
Dadua ruled the drought-hit and backward terrains of Bundelkhand for three decades when his reign of terror was finally brought to an end by UP police in 2007.
Notably, Bal Kunwar Patel had joined Congress on Friday night and was rewarded with a ticket from Banda.
Patel is also an SP turncoat. He had won Lok Sabha elections from Mirzapur on an SP ticket in 2009.
A prominent Kurmi face for Samajwadi Party, Patel was shifted to Banda in 2014 where he was relegated to the third position as the seat was won by BJP’s Bhairon Prasad Mishra with a margin of over a lakh votes.
BSP’s RK Singh Patel was the runner up.
In Moradabad, the party expressed confidence in poet Imran Pratapgarghi, known for his controversial couplets and posts against the establishment to replace UPCC chief Raj Babbar. Babbar’s name from Moradabad seat was announced in Congress Party’s second list released on March 13.
In fact, Babbar always preferred Sikri, his home district to Moradabad. He has represented adjacent Agra twice -- 1999 and 2004—in Lok Sabha. In 2008, when Agra was declared a reserved seat post-delimitation, Babbar shifted to Sikri.
In 2009, Babbar lost Sikri to BSP’s Seema Upadhyay in a close contest.
In 2014, Congress did not field a candidate on the seat which was won by BJP’s Chaudhury Babulal who secured more than 44% of the total votes polled.
The BJP has, however, replaced Babulal with Raj Kumar Chaher. In the SP-BSP combine, the seat went to BSP chunk and the ticket has been given to Rajveer Singh.
Other names that featured on the list were Trilokiram Diwakar from Hathras (reserved), Preeta Harit from Agra (reserved), Praveen Aron from Bareilly, Virendra Kumar Verma from Hardoi (reserved), Bal Kunwar Patel from Banda and Girish Chandra Pasi from Kaushambhi (reserved).
Harit, posted as Principal Commissioner Income Tax, had resigned from her post and joined the Congress a few days ago in the presence of Babbar.
The founder of Bahujan Samyak Sangathan, she was selected in civil services at the age of 22.
Meanwhile, the speculations of singer Sapna Chaudhary joining the Congress and contesting from the Mathura seat were also laid to rest.