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SP releases list of 191 candidates, Congress says ‘alliance’ is on

Samajwadi Party headed by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Friday released the first list of 192 candidates for the upcoming UP Assembly Elections 2017.

Interestingly, Akhilesh’s warring uncle, Shivpal Singh Yadav has been given an election ticket to contest from Jaswantnagar constituency.

It was earlier reported that SP patron Mulayam had given a list of 38 candidates – which can’t be overlooked – to Akhilesh when the young Chief Minister came to seek his blessings on Tuesday.

Rakesh Verma, son of Rajya Sabha member Beni Prasad Verma, whose name had figured in Shivpal’s list, however, has been replaced by Akhilesh loyalist Arvind Singh Gope, Minister and sitting MLA from Ramnagar seat (Barabanki).

Senior minister Azam Khan’s son Abdullah Azam Khan has been made the party candidate from Swaar in Rampur.

Gangster-turned-politician Ateeq Ahmad has withdrawn from the fray, saying he does not want to embarrass the Chief Minister. In his place, Hasan Rumi has been fielded from Kanpur Cantt.

In the list of candidates declared today, 52 are Muslims and 18 women. Though Akhilesh has taken care not to include controversial figures, still the list carries the name of Vijay Singh, who was the main accused in the murder of BSP leader Brahmdutt Dwivedi. He has been fielded from Farrukhabad.

However, the alliance with the Samajwadi Party for the Uttar Pradesh election is on, said top Congress leaders after they met in Delhi to discuss how to salvage the partnership with Akhilesh Yadav, that, both parties have for days declared as almost finalised. While Rahul Gandhi, Congress Vice President met his sister Priyanka at his home, other senior party leaders held a separate emergency meeting after Akhilesh Yadav scripted a major plot twist in his list of candidates that he released in Lucknow.

But Akhilesh Yadav, who is seeking re-election as Chief Minister, is, according to sources, putting the squeeze on the Congress, which, without his partnership, stands far removed from the contest for the key state of Uttar Pradesh, with a stack of electoral defeats both in the last state election in 2012 and the general election two years later.

Meanwhile, Spurned by Congress and Samajwadi Party, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) today decided to contest all the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh in alliance with JD-U and 10 smaller parties.

“We will contest all the 403 seats in alliance with JD(U) and 10 smaller parties,” RLD state unit chief Masood Ahmad Ahmad announced after a meeting with these parties.

“It was unanimously decided to contest all the seats,” he said in a press release.

“We will field a candidate of that party which is strong in a particular seat,” he said.

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