Ghaziabad: Congress yet to declare candidates for Sahibabad and Modinagar seats

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Ghaziabad: Congress yet to declare candidates for Sahibabad and Modinagar seats
© Provided by Hindustan Times Congress candidate for Muradnagar Bijendra Yadav heads to file his nomination at the district magistrate office in Ghaziabad on Wednesday. (Sakib Ali/HT photo)

All major political parties have declared their candidates for all five assembly seats in Ghaziabad these upcoming elections, except for Congress, which is yet to announce candidates for Sahibabad and Modinagar assembly seats till Wednesday evening. The Congress said the names would be declared by late Wednesday or Thursday.

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The last date for filing of nominations is January 21 and major political parties such as the Aam Aadmi Party, Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party along with its ally the Rashtriya Lok Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party have already declared their candidates and several of those candidates have also filed their nomination papers.

The Congress, on the other hand, has given tickets to its district president Bijendra Yadav from Muradnagar, Yameen Malik from Loni and Sushant Goyal from the Ghaziabad seat.

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“There has been some delay for the two seats of Modinagar and Sahibabad and it is expected that the names will be declared soon. The delay could be due to different considerations but Congress will contest on all five seats in Ghaziabad,” said Dolly Sharma, member of All India Congress Committee and spokesperson of UP Congress Committee.

Party sources said one of the two pending tickets may be offered to a woman candidate.

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The Congress has fared poorly in the past three assembly elections of 2017, 2012 and 2007 when none of its candidates could secure a win in the district.

During the 2017 elections, all five assembly seats were won by the BJP while in 2012, four were won by the BSP — Zakir Ali from Loni, Wahab Chaudhary from Muradnagar, Amarpal Sharma from Sahibabad and Suresh Bansal from Ghaziabad. The Modingar seat was won by Sudesh Sharma of the Rashtriya Lok Dal.

During the 2007 elections, there were three seats in Ghaziabad which were won by Sunil Sharma of the BJP (Ghaziabad), Raj Pal Singh from the BSP (Modinagar) and Raj Pal Tyagi, who contested as an independent from the Muradnagar seat.

Political experts said the Congress not deciding the two seats shows the lax approach of the party.

“If they declare candidates a day or two before the filing of nominations, the candidate will not be able to prepare fully while the other parties have planned their candidates well in advance. Maybe, the delay or not declaring candidates could be a strategy. If they don’t field candidates, the anti-BJP votes will go to the strongest contender, otherwise they may get divided,” said KK Sharma, associate professor (history) from MM College, Modinagar.

Other experts said the delay in declaring candidates will send wrong signals to the party cadre.

“The base of the Congress party is still not much in Uttar Pradesh as they have lost the previous elections. However, they should further elevate their leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in the party and this will help the Congress gain larger ground in UP in the next five or 10 years. She has the leadership qualities and can identify issues that concern people,” said Dr Virendra Singh, associate professor (political science) from MMH Degree College, Ghaziabad.

“She has the ability to raise issues which other political parties do not or may not,” he added.

Led by Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the Congress has given 40% party tickets to women candidates and also made some populist announcements for them.

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