Jogi, Pilot, Azhar in Congress list, Kalmadi replaced

New Delhi, March 18: The Congress Tuesday declared its third list of party candidates, fielding former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi from Mahasamund and Vishwajeet Kadam from Pune in place of sitting MP Suresh Kalmadi, who is facing a corruption case related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The party has fielded cricketer-turned-politician Mohammed Azharuddin from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan. Azharuddin is a sitting MP from Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh.

The list of 58 names declared Tuesday included Rajasthan chief Sachin Pilot (Ajmer), Haryana chief Ashok Tanwar (Sirsa) and Punjab chief Partap Singh Bajwa (Gurdaspur).

There was speculation that both Pilot and Tanwar were seeking a change of constituency but both will be contesting from the seats they won in 2009.

Other prominent names in the list from Rajasthan include union minister Chandresh Kumari (Jodhpur), C.P. Joshi (Jaipur Rural) and Jyoti Mirdha (Nagaur).

Joshi is sitting MP from Bhilwara in Rajasthan.

The party has fielded Rao Dharampal from Gurgaon, Rajinder Singh from Hamirpur in Himachal Pradesh and Srikant Jena from Balasore in Odisha.

The list includes names of several sitting MPs, including five from Delhi.

Ajay Maken will contest from New Delhi, while union ministers Kapil Sibal and Krishna Tirath will be the candidates from Chandni Chowk and North West Delhi respectively.

Former Delhi unit president Jai Prakash Agarwal will fight from North East Delhi, while Sandeep Dikshit, son of former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, will again contest from East Delhi.

The party, however, kept up the suspense as to whom it would field against BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Varanasi.

Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala has said the party will put up a formidable nominee against the Gujarat chief minister.

There was intense speculation that Kalmadi, who had won the Lok Sabha elections thrice, would be given a Congress ticket from Pune.

Kalmadi, chief of the 2010 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, is an accused in a corruption case related to the sporting event.

He was arrested for his alleged role in awarding a contract for installing a timing-scoring-result system at an exorbitant cost of Rs.141 crore, allegedly causing a loss of over Rs.95 crore to the public exchequer. He was later released on bail.

The party also replaced Suraj S. Verma with Pankaj Aggarwal at Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh.

IANS