New Delhi: Congress today kept up the suspense over its possible candidate in Varanasi to take on BJP’s prime ministerial Narendra Modi as it came out with a fresh list of 16 nominees for Lok Sabha polls.

The candidates announced today included Union Minister Namo Narain Meena from Dausa-ST in Rajasthan and Punjab CLP leader Sunil Jakhar from Ferozpur in the state.

Meena has been shifted to Dausa from neighbouring Tonk-Sawai Madhopur from where former cricket captain Md Azaruddin has been brought in as a party nominee last week. Azaruddin is a sitting MP from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh.

In Tamil Nadu, Vazapadi Rama Suganthan, son of former Union Minister the late Vazapadi K Ramamurthy, has been made the party candidate from Dharmapuri.

In Maharashtra, party leader Nitin Patil has been fielded from Aurangabad, a seat being held by Shiv Sena since long.       There is no word on the candidature from Nanded from where former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan is interested in a nomination either for him or his wife Amita.

Chavan had resigned in the wake of the Adarsh Housing Society scam.

Candidates announced today included two from Karnataka-Saleem Ahmed from Haveri and Vinay Kulkarni from Dharwad and one from Odisha- Dharnidhar Nayak from Kendrapara. Three candidates each were announced from Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

Nand Gopal Gupta ‘Nandu’, a former Minister in Mayawati government in UP, who joined Congress last week, has been made the party candidate from Allahabad.

Meanwhile, the talk in Congress is that in Varanasi, a local candidate should be fielded. The name of Rajesh Mishra, a former MP, is being considered seriously.

Mishra, who represented the seat from 2004 to 2009, has alrady said he has “no problem” to face BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate in the polls.

Mishra had contested from the seat thrice including in 1999 and got 1.2 lakh votes in 2009 Lok Sabha polls.He had finished fourth in the last polls as the election had become a tussle between Joshi, the eventual winner, and Mukhtar Ansari of BSP.

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