Cong first list banks on sitting MLAs

FrontJaivardhan with father Digvijaya Singh before filing his nomination papers in Guna Friday. PTI

Playing it safe, the Congress Friday released candidates for 115 constituencies by repeating most of the sitting legislators claiming that it had broadly followed Rahul Gandhi's formula of ticket distribution. The party had only 71 MLAs in the 230-member House and the first list includes most of them. The party's tally had further reduced after reversals in many by-elections since 2008.

Just like the BJP, which released 147 names Thursday, the Congress avoided touching contentious constituencies in the first list but maintained that the process was almost over and the remaining names would be announced soon.

The first list did not include Raghogarh constituency though former CM Digvijaya Singh's son Jaivardhan had already filed his nomination early in the day.

Also missing was Jhabua constituency from where state Congress chief Kantilal Bhuria's niece Kalavati Bhuria wants to contest. Hours before the list was released she resigned as Congress secretary saying that the party was ignoring her. Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh will contest from Churhat in Sidhi district while Mahidpur MLA Kalpana Paruelkar, whose candidature was in jeopardy, has also been renominated. The Congress is yet to name candidate for Shivpuri constituency from where its campaign committee chief Jyotiraditya Scindia's aunt Yashodhara Raje is the BJP candidate.

Sanjeev Saxena who contested the last election as a candidate of the BSP before joining the Congress will take on Home Minister Umashankar Gutpa from Bhopal (South-West) constituency.

Mining baron Sanjay Pathak, one of the richest legislators, will contest from Vijayraghavgarh constituency. Bhopal (north) MLA Arif Aqueel will take on BJP's Arif Baig.

Congress vice-president Rameshwar Nikhara said Rahul Gandhi's formula had been followed and no tainted legislator or candidate had been fielded.

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