Kin, turncoats, losers, all in SP list of 55


Relatives of party leaders, including four members of the Mulayam Singh Yadav clan, political turncoats, sitting MPs and Assembly Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey figure in the first list of 55 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, which was released by the Samajwadi Party on Friday.

"The list has been declared early so that the financially weak candidates get ample time to cover their constituency," said party general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, whose son Akshay Yadav was named candidate from Firozabad.

Although the SP had announced that sitting MLAs will not be named for the Lok Sabha election, Speaker Pandey will contest from Dumariyaganj, where he had lost in 2009, Minister of State for PWD and Irrigation Surendra Singh Patel will contest from Varanasi while Rajmati Nishad, MLA from Pipraich, will contest from Gorakhpur.

The SP is the first party in the state to formally announce a list of candidates. Although the BSP has finalised its candidates for most of the 80 Lok Sabha seats and informally asked them to start preparations, it has not made any formal announcement.

Ram Gopal Yadav ruled out any changes in the list, unless there were exceptional circumstances.

From the Yadav clan, party president Mulayam Singh Yadav has been repeated from Mainpuri, Dimple Yadav from Kannauj and Dharmendra Yadav from Badaun. This will be Akshay Yadav's first election.

Among the party hoppers in the list, most have come from the BSP. They include Devendra Singh, who had contested as BSP candidate from Etah in 2009, and criminal history sheeter Arun Kumar Shukla, who was BSP candidate from Unnao in 2009. Both will contest from their old constituencies.

Ram Gopal claimed that none in the list was a tainted man. "If a case is registered against me, that does not make me a criminal," he said.

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