SP announces 7 more candidates

LS polls RLD MP from Hathras Sarika Baghel named for Agra.

The Samajwadi Party announced seven more candidates for the Lok Sabha elections on Thursday, including Rashtriya Lok Dal MP from Hathras Sarika Baghel, who has been named for Agra.

Sarika replaces Maharaj Singh Dhanghar from Agra whose nomination had run into opposition from local party leaders. Sarika had been in touch with SP leaders and her husband Devendra Baghel had requested for the SP ticket from Tundla in the assembly elections last year.

While Sarika was not available to talk about her decision to change party, her husband said, "We have no differences with RLD. But all our family members had joined the SP during assembly election. Now, Sarika too has joined and has been given the ticket for Agra."

State RLD president Munna Singh Chauhan termed Sarika's decision as opportunistic. "For the past two years, she had been hobnobbing with SP. She stayed with us only to save her membership of the Lok Sabha. Now she dare not contest from Hathras again," Chauhan remarked.

The SP has decided to field Sompal Shastri from Baghpat, which is representated by Rashtriya Lok Dal president and Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh.

Shastri had once defeated Ajit Singh in 1998 when he contested on as a BJP candidate and was made Minister of State for Agriculture in th NDA government. Earlier, he was member of the Rajya Sabha from 1992 to 98.

SP has chosen Ayesha Islam, who is the wife of Shahzil Islam, the lone MLA of Ittehad-e-Millat Council founded by Muslim cleric Tauqir Raza Khan, for Bareilly. Her husband represents Bhojpur seat of Bareilly. The family has a good clout in Bareilly, both his grandfather and father had represented Bareilly in the state assembly in the past.

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