The Congress released its first list of candidates for the upcoming urban local body elections on Friday. The list, released from the party’s state headquarters in Lucknow, contains mayoral candidates for Agra, Kanpur, Ayodhya and Meerut as well as over 100 candidates for chairperson of Nagar Palikas and Nagar Panchayats in 19 districts. The day wasn’t without its share of drama either, with leaders from Hardoi arguing that an “outsider” was given tickets.
Sources in the party said the argument seemed to centre around the candidatures of Jail Ahmad Ansari (Hardoi Nagar Palika Parishad) and Mohammad Saeed Khan (Pihani Palika Parishad in Hardoi). While Ansari had joined the party from Samajwadi Party 10 days ago, leaders claim that Khan’s name was not even on the list that was discussed at the district-level.
Party spokesperson Virendra Madan, however, said there was no “scuffle”, but just a minor case of people trying to enter the party office at once. “There was no purpose of all those meetings if none of the names discussed were to be accepted,” alleged a senior party leader from Hadoi. “There were many whose bio-data had not even come to the district committee for consideration. They had directly approached the state committee be it that of Hardoi, Pihani or even Madhoganj. They were selected. The anger among certain section of workers is genuine.”
“There were about 200 candidates and their supporters who had come to take their symbol and all of them were trying to enter the party office at once. There was a minor pushing around in that race to enter but there was no fight,” said spokesperson Virendra Madan. Sources, however, said the scuffle took place soon after the names were announced.
Local caste equations were kept in mind while selecting candidates, especially for mayor, sources said.
In Agra, district president Dushyant Sharma said, “There were many applications but considering there is abut 3 lakh Vaishya voters in Agra city, Vinod Bansal’s name was put at the top. He is a senior Congress leader and is also secretary in the state committee.”
Meanwhile, in Meerut, the party selected Mamta Sood, who is a Valmiki by caste, whereas for the Kanpur and Ayodhya seats of mayor, the party has selected brahmin faces.
Vandana Mishra is the party’s face for mayor in Kanpur; Shailendra Mani Pandey for Ayodhya and Mamta Sood for Meerut. Shailendra Mani Pandey is the party face from Ayodhya, where his wife had earlier been Nagar Palika chairperson.
The districts from where the candidates for Nagar Palika Parishad and Nagar Panchayat have been announced include Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, Ghazipur, Sonbhadra, Kaushambi, Pratapgarh, Faizabad, Basti, Gonda, Agra, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Chitrakoot, Bijnor, Hathras, Kansganj, Shamli, Meerut and Hapur.