Rebel UP Congress leader, Aditi Singh, will contest the Uttar Pradesh election from Rae Bareli, the last Congress bastion in the state, while former Kanpur top cop, Asim Arun, will contest the polls from Kannauj, the BJP said today as it released a list of 85 candidates
Ms Singh's father, Akhilesh Singh was a five-time MLA from this seat, was very close to the Gandhi family, and she was regularly photographed with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra whenever the latter visited Rae Bareli. She joined the BJP in November last year.
Rae Bareli is a Congress stronghold - Congress President Sonia Gandhi is the Lok Sabha MP from here - and it has voted for the party in every Lok Sabha election since 1980 (the exceptions were in 1996 and 1998, when the BJP's Ashok Singh was elected).
A crucial seat where the BJP has declared its candidate is Nighasan in Lakhimpur. Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son Ashish, who is accused of running over farmers last October, was a strong contender for this seat, but it has now been given to another candidate. Ashish Mishra is in jail and has been chargesheeted for the murders.
IPS officer Asim Arun, who was police commissioner of Kanpur and announced his decision to quit the service and join the BJP on the day poll dates for 5 states were announced, raising questions of propriety, has got a ticket from Kannauj, his hometown.
In Bidhuna, the daughter of a bedridden ex BJP MLA who recently switiched over to the Samajwadi Party has been made the BJP candidate. Vinay Shakya, who quit the BJP along with heavyweight OBC leader and UP minister Swami Prasad Maurya on Tuesday was forced to issue a statement from his bedside after much controversy over his daughter Riya Shakya, now named the BJP candidate, alleging he had been kidnapped by his brother who is aligned with Mr Maurya.
The UP police had to step in and clarify no abduction had taken place and that the allegations were because of a family and political feud.
The polling in Uttar Pradesh will be held on February 10, 14, 20, 23, 27 and March 3 and 7 in seven phases. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.