UP polls: Unnao rape victim’s mother on Congress’ first list of candidates

The Congress in the maiden list has announced the names of 125 candidates including 50 women

While announcing the first list of candidates for the Uttar Pradesh elections, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi said she would continue working in the state even after the polls.

Congress general-secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday released the first list of candidates from the party for the seven-phase Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections from February 10 to March 7.

The Congress, in the first list, has announced the names of 125 candidates including 50 women. Asha Singh, the mother of the Unnao rape victim, is one of the contestants.

Other candidates are Asha worker Poonam Pandey, who faced police atrocities, from Shahjahanpur; Nishad rights activist Alpana Nishad from Allahabad; Ritu Singh, whom BJP workers had tried to disrobe during the Panchayat polls last year, from Mohammadi in Kheri; actor and anti-CAA activist Sadaf Jafar from Lucknow Central; and Ramraj Gond, victim of upper caste violence, in Sonbhadra.

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Aradhna Misra Mona, the sitting MLA and party leader in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly has been fielded again from Rampur Khas. Salman Khurshid’s wife, Louise Khurshid, who has lost successive elections from Farrukhabad has also been given a ticket again.

Stressing that she will continue working in Uttar Pradesh even after the polls, Priyanka however, skirted the question on whether she will also contest the upcoming poll.

The BJP is yet to announce its list of candidates and is reportedly discussing the matter at an ongoing Central Election Committee meeting. While leaders including Union ministers Amit Shah, Anurag Thakur, Dharmendra Pradhan, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath are attending the meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president JP Nadda and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will reportedly join via video conferencing.

The party is currently grappling with mass resignations of sitting MLAs with seven having exited since the announcement of the Assembly polls. On Thursday, party MLA Shikohabad Mukesh Verma resigned from the primary membership of BJP, following in the footsteps of former minister Swami Prasad Maurya.

“Swami Prasad Maurya is our leader. We will support whatever decision he takes. Many other leaders will join us in the coming days,” he told the media.