Congress names 24 candidates for Uttar Pradesh (Lead)

March 4th, 2009 - 11:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiNew Delhi, March 4 (IANS) The Congress Wednesday released its first list of 24 candidates from Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha elections, including its president Sonia Gandhi and general secretary Rahul Gandhi.
The list includes some of the rebels of the Samajwadi Party, with which the Congress has been trying to work out a pre-poll alliance in the state.

Actor and Samajwadi Party rebel Raj Babbar has been fielded from Fatehpur Sikri while another rebel, Beni Prasad Verma, will contest from Gonda.

All the sitting MPs of the party have been renominated.

The list also includes candidates for constituencies on which the Samajwadi Party has already declared its nominees.

Although the Congress and the Samajwadi Party have been finding it difficult to work out an alliance, Congress general secretary M. Veerappa Moily called the Samajwadi Party a “friend”.

“The Samajwadi Party came to the support of the UPA (the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance) government at a crucial time. They are our friends and will continue to remain friends,” Moily said.

Concurred Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh Digvijay Singh: “Doors are still open for discussions with Samajwadi Party.

“This is our first list. Wait for the second list,” he added.

Party sources indicated the second list would be out by March 11.

The Samajwadi Party, which has announced candidates for 64 of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, had offered 17 seats to the Congress. The Congress had maintained that it will fight on at least 25 seats.

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