Congress names 15 more candidates for Uttar Pradesh


New Delhi : After it became clear Saturday that there was virtually no chance of any seat sharing arrangement with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress released its second list of 15 candidates from the state for the Lok Sabha elections.

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The new nominees include Saleem Sherwani, who had left the Samajwadi Party Thursday to join the Congress.

The new list has taken the number of Congress candidates from Uttar Pradesh to 39. The state has 80 Lok Sabha seats, the highest number in the country.

On March 4, the party had named 24 candidates from Uttar Pradesh for the 2009 general elections including its president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Rahul Gandhi.

Senior Samajwadi Party leader Sherwani, a sitting MP from the Budaun constituency, had Thursday joined Congress after Samajwadi Party denied him a ticket, reportedly without consulting him.

The Congress has given Sherwani a ticket from Budaun.

He has been an MP for five terms and was union minister of state, health and family welfare in 1996-97 and union minister of state for external affairs in 1997-98.

The Congress has confirmed that V.M. Singh will be its candidate from Pilibhit to take on Varun Gandhi of the Bharatiya janata Party. Varun Gandhi has been embroiled in a controversy after purportedly making communally inflammatory speeches.

The party has also given a ticket to Shailendra Singh from Chandauli constituency. Shailendra Singh, who is the chairperson of the party’s Uttar Pradesh Right to Information (RTI) task force, was a police officer before he resigned as deputy superintendent of police in 2004 to join the Congress.