Congress names Pawan Bansal and Subodh Kant Sahay in second list despite storm over their alleged roles in railway and coal scam; no decision on Ashok Chavan yet

New Delhi :  Confirming that electoral strategy is more relevant than public perception, the Congress leadership has cleared the names of 71 candidates in its second list for the May 2014 general elections.

The list includes two former Union ministers, Pawan Bansal and Subodh Kant Sahay, who had resigned following a storm over their role in the railways recruitment and the coal gate scam, respectively. Bansal has been re-nominated from Chandigarh, whereas Sahay retains his Ranchi seat.

HIGHLIGHTS

Film star Nagma ………………………………….Meerut

Sitting MP Raj Babbar ………………………Ghaziabad

Former UPCC chief Rita Bahuhuna Joshi….Lucknow

Youth Cong chief Rajeev Satav ……………….Hingoli

Sagar Meghe ……………………………………..Wardha

Vishwanath Patil ………………………………Bhiwandi

Union ministers nominated:

Veerappa Moily, Shashi Tharoor, K V Thomas, V Narayanasamy, Mullapally Ramachandran and Vincent Pala

There was much public and internal debate over whether such ‘tainted’ leaders should be given the party ticket. But over the last two days party spokespersons have been painstakingly emphasizing that unless someone has been convicted or charged by a court of law, then he or does not fall within the purview of the expression taint. As Bansal and Sahay figure in the second list, it is a confirmation that this definition has been accepted by the party leadership as well.

Film star Nagma has been fielded from Meerut, and the sitting MP Raj Babbar has been shifted from Firozabad to Ghaziabad, a seat currently held by the BJP president Rajnath Singh who is likely to move to Lucknow. Former UPCC chief Rita Bahuhuna Joshi, who lost from Lucknow in 2009, has been fielded again. Lucknow had once elected Rita’s father Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna and she will be taking on either Narendra Modi or BJP president Rajnath Singh. Begum Noor Bano of Rampur has been moved to Moradabad, a seat held by former rest cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin.

After the release of the second list, the Congress has named almost half the candidates that it would be fielding in this election.

Youth Congress President Rajeev Satav will be contesting from Hingoli in Maharashtra. He is among a handful of young candidates chosen and mostly they are old hats, including some who lost in the last 2009 elections. No candidate has been announced yet in Nanded, which is being eyed by former chief minister Ashok Chavan.

Union ministers Veerappa Moily, Shashi Tharoor, K V Thomas, V Narayanasamy, Mullapally Ramachandran and Vincent Pala also figure in this list, which contains three candidates from Madhya Pradesh and seven from Maharashtra; two changes in the list were announced for Chhattisgarh state.

The Maharashtra candidates are Sagar Meghe, son of Datta Meghe, who won the primaries from Wardha, Vishwanath Patil (Bhiwandi), Hidayat Patel (Akola), Namdeo Usendi (Gadchiroli), Rajeev Satav (Hingoli), Vilas Autade (Jalna), and Kallappa Awade (Hatkanangle).

The party has replaced the Raipur candidate Chhaya Verma with former state minister Satyanarayan Sharma and got Aarti Singh for the Raigarh seat in place of Dr. Maneka Singh.

Dr Govind Singh (Morena), Omkar Markam (Mandla-ST) and Devendra Patel (Hoshangabad) have made the cut from Madhya Pradesh.

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