Suresh Pachouri stages a comeback, six names changed

The All India Congress Committee in New Delhi released a third list of 26 candidates, late on Wednesday night. Six candidates from the previous lists have been changed after picketing of Congress offices in Madhya Pradesh on Wednesday.

The most important inclusion is that of Suresh Pachouri — one of the six satraps on the Congress in the State. Former Union Minister and Pradesh Congress Committee President Pachouri was in political wilderness for the last five years after the party lost in 2008. The loss was blamed on Mr. Pachouri's selection of candidates. He will face former CM Sunderlal Patwa's son Surendra in Bhojpur. Mr. Surendra is one of the richest MLAs with 6.69 crores in declared assets.

Among the six replacement candidates are party spokesman Mukesh Nayak and Lodhi caste leader Chandrabhan Singh. Lodhis are a prominent backward caste in the State to which former Chief Minister Uma Bharti belongs. Her supporters have distanced themselves from the BJP and a Lodhi MLA has also defected to the Congress to protest Ms. Uma being sidelined in the BJP.

Chandrabhan Singh has replaced RTI activist Santosh Bharti to fight Minister Jayant Mallayya in Damoh. Mr. Bharti's RTI's and activism had cornered several members of the Mr. Shivraj cabinet for corruption. Mr. Mallayya too faces a Lokayukta probe.

The Congress' senior most leader in the Vindhya region — Sriniwas Tiwari, a freedom fighter known as “white tiger”, has won tickets for his son and grandson from Rewa district.