Kalmadi dropped; Ajit Jogi to contest from Mahasamund
The Congress renominated five of its seven sitting Members of Parliament from Delhi — Union Ministers Kapil Sibal and Krishna Tirath, party general-secretary Ajay Maken, Chief Whip Sandeep Dikshit and J.P. Aggarwal — while keeping the announcement on the other two seats on hold, even as it dropped Suresh Kalmadi, indicted in the Commonwealth Games scam. The candidate for the Pune Lok Sabha seat will be Vishwajeet Kadam.
Four other Union Ministers, Chandresh Kumari, Dinsha Patel, Srikant Jena and Sachin Pilot, find a place in the third list, re-nominated from the constituencies they currently represent. Of them, three had sought a change of constituency but the party did not oblige them. Ms. Kumari wanted to move from Jodhpur in Rajasthan to Himachal Pradesh, party sources said, while Mr. Pilot wanted a change of seat in Rajasthan. Mr. Jena, who represents Balasore in Odisha, was not keen on contesting at all.
Two other PCC chiefs renominated
Apart from Mr. Pilot, who is also the Rajasthan PCC chief, two other PCC chiefs, Ashok Tanwar (Haryana) and Pratap Singh Bajwa (Punjab) have been renominated, despite some reluctance on their part to contest.
Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi will contest from Mahasamund, while Phullo Devi Netam, injured in last year’s Darbha Maoist attack, in which the top State Congress leadership was killed, has been nominated from Kanker.
Former Union Minister Arjun Singh’s son Ajay Singh has been nominated from the Satna seat in Madhya Pradesh: Mr. Ajay Singh was also till recently the CLP leader in the State.
However, party general secretary C.P. Joshi — a favourite of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi — has been permitted to move from Bhilwara to Jaipur Rural: in the process, the sitting MP from Jaipur Rural, Lalchand Kataria, a Union Minister, has been dropped, as has another Union Minister, Namo Narain Meena, who was twice elected from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur.
He has been replaced by cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin. Mr. Azharuddin is the sitting MP from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, but the party has replaced him there with Begum Noor Bano, as he was not seen as a winning candidate again. It is not known yet whether Mr. Kataria and Mr. Meena will get new seats.
Rajasthan, where the Congress faced its worst ever performance in the Assembly elections last year, has seen as many as six sitting candidates replaced in the list that was released on Tuesday.