Congress now fields Madhusudan Mistry against Modi in Vadodara
The Congress Tuesday changed its nominee from Gujarat's Vadodara Lok Sabha constituency, from where BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is contesting, replacing Narendra Rawat with party general secretary Madhusudan Mistry.
The party Tuesday came out with a list of 12 candidates including Mistry from Vadodara and former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan from Nanded.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari is unlikely to contest elections with the Congress moving Raveneet Singh Bittu, MP from Anandpur Sahib, to Ludhiana.
Tewari represented Ludhiana in 15th Lok Sabha. Among other candidates announced by the Congress include Santokh Singh Choudhary (Jalandhar) and M.S. Kaypee (Hoshiarpur).
Congress sources said that Rawat was a lightweight compared to Modi and the party wanted to give a tough fight to the Gujarat chief minister.
Interestingly, Rawat was chosen through the much flaunted process of primaries initiated by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Modi is also contesting from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
Mistry said he was keen to contest against Modi.
"I have been asked to contest from Vadodara. It is an opportunity I had been waiting for a long time. Let Modi also contest from there and let's see who wins," said Mistry, who hails from Guajrat is considered close to party vice president Rahul Gandhi.
Chavan, who got the party ticket from Nanded, had to step down as chief minister in the wake of Adarsh housing society controversy that surfaced in 2010. There were uncertainty about whether he would be fielded.
Responding to questions concerning Chavan, party general secretary Ajay Maken said that court or Election Commission had not barred him from contesting.
He contended Chavan's case was different from Suresh Kalmadi and a court has not taken cognisance of allegations pertaining to him.
Last week, Congress had denied renomination to Kalmadi, sitting MP from Pune, in the wake of allegations against him concerning the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
(Posted on 26-03-2014)