Varanasi not yet on Congress list
The BJP’s opponents have begun firming up their strategy to take on the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who is contesting from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
Expectations soared among mediapersons when the Congress held an unscheduled news conference at 6.30 p.m. on Tuesday, a few hours after its spokesperson vowed the party would put up a formidable candidate against Mr. Modi. However, the new list of candidates released at the conference did not include Varanasi.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh sprang a surprise, declaring that he would stand from Azamgarh in eastern Uttar Pradesh besides Mainpuri, his current seat.
The choice of former Army chief V.K. Singh, amid reports of protests from local workers, as the BJP’s candidate for the Ghaziabad Lok Sabha seat stood out among candidates of various parties who figured in the new lists. Another highlight was Congress’ denial of ticket to Suresh Kalmadi who is an accused in the Commonwealth Games scam. Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi is the Congress candidate from Mahasamund. Cricketer-turned-politician Mohammed Azharuddin is standing from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan. He was MP from Moradabad, U.P.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and BJP’s candidate from Amritsar Arun Jaitley accused Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi of going back to the anti-Modi theme, bringing up the 2002 Gujarat riots, because his other political cards had failed.