- The Congress today announced its second list of 21 candidates
- 5 candidates from Maharashtra and 16 from Uttar Pradesh in new list
- Raj Babbar fielded from Moradabad, Priya Dutt from Mumbai North-Central
The Congress on Wednesday announced its second list of 21 candidates - five from Maharashtra and the rest from Uttar Pradesh. The party's senior leaders Raj Babbar has been fielded from Moradabad and former Union minister Sriprakash Jaiswal from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, and Priya Dutt from Mumbai North-Central. With this, the Congress has declared 27 candidates from the electorally-crucial Uttar Pradesh.
Ms Dutt - the daughter of the late actor-politician Sunil Dutt -- made her electoral debut from the seat in 2005 and retained it in 2009. The seat is currently represented by BJP's Poonam Mahajan. The other significant names include Kisan Congress chief Nana Patole from Nagpur and former Union minister Milind Deora from Mumbai South.
Mr Babbar had won against Dimple Yadav, the wife of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav in the by-election to the Firozabad seat in 2009. But in the 2014 general elections, he lost to VK Singh from Ghaziabad.
Kunwar Sarvesh Singh, a five-time BJP legislator from Thakurdwara, represents Moradabad in the Lok Sabha. Thakurdwara is part of the Lok Sabha constituency.
The other key names in the Congress second list include two new entrants to the party. BJP rebel Savitri Bai Phule would be contesting from Bahraich, the seat she won in 2014. Kaiser Jahan, who represented Sitapur in the Lok Sabha in 2009, has been fielded from the same seat, which she lost to the BJP's Rajesh Verma in 2014. Ms Jahan, who at the time was with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, joined the Congress after her expulsion.
Lalitesh Pati Tripathi, a young leader seen as close to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, is contesting from Mirzapur. Mr Tripathi was a Congress legislator since 2012, who lost the 2017 assembly election in which the BJP had a resounding victory.
The sitting lawmaker from Mirzapur is Anupriya Patel, the chief of BJP ally Apna Dal. For most of the last 20 years, the Mirzapur seat has been held by Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party and Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party, which have joined hands for the coming elections.
Left out of the alliance, the Congress is contesting all 80 seats. The party also plans to build its base in the state, where it has been in a shambles since the 2014 elections. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi made it clear that his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was inducted into active politics last month, has been tasked with building up the party from the grassroot level. So is Jyotiraditya Scindia, who has been put in charge of western Uttar Pradesh.