Former cricketer and Congress MP from Moradabad Mohammad Azharuddin was a star campaigner of the party in UP,but he chose to stay away from his constituency. He was only seen at public meetings of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi at Kundarki on February 22 and party president Sonia Gandhi two days later.
While it is not clear why Azharuddin did not campaign for party candidates in Moradabad,Deshraj Sharma,a senior district Congress leader,said: All we know is that our MP is unhappy with the ticket distribution here. He used to camp here before the announcement of election in the state and meet us,but has not campaigned at all.
The district has nine assembly constituencies. The Congress is contesting in six seats and alliance partner RLD in two. In the ninth seat,Kanth,both the parties have fielded their own candidates. Congress candidate for Kanth,Mohd Ullah Khan,said the fight had become really tough for him due to the RLD nominee.
Apart from Moradabad,polling in the final phase will be held in Shahjahanpur,Lakhimpur Kheri and Bareilly,which,too,had sent Congress candidates to Parliament in the last elections. They are Union minister Jitin Prasada,Zafar Ali Naqvi and Praveen Singh Aron. Among them,only Prasada has campaigned with a vigour.
There is no comparison to Jitin Prasada. Zafar Ali Naqvi visited certain areas,but it is his son Saif who is more active. The contrast is visible in constituencies that fall under Jitins area like Dhaurara and Kasta where he has been continuously camping since the elections were announced, said Iqbal Ahmad,Congress district president of Lakhimpur Kheri.
In Bareilly,where Congress MP Praveen Singh Arons wife Supriya Aron is contesting,local leaders said Aron had visited other constituencies in the district,but was mainly concentrating on Bareilly cantonment from where his wife is contesting. Aron was in the news last year when he had openly came out in favour of Team Annas Jan Lokpal Bill rather than the Lokpal Bill of the UPA government.
Though Supriya has been the mayor,but Praveens own image is at stake in this election. Still,he has spared time for other candidates. So we are not complaining much said a district Congress leader.
Of the 60 assembly constituencies where polling will be held Saturday,about half fall in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Azharuddin,Naqvi,Prasada and Aron.