In its third list of candidates for the coming Lok Sabha elections, the Congress on Tuesday fielded 58 candidates, mostly tried and tested ones. While most sitting ministers, including Kapil Sibal (Chandni Chowk), Krishna Tirath (Northwest Delhi), Sachin Pilot (Ajmer) and Srikant Jena (Balasore) were retained, the surprise elements were state Youth Congress President Vishwajeet Kadam replacing tainted Suresh Kalmadi from Pune and cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur (Rajasthan).
Earlier, Azharuddin had chosen not to contest from Moradabad.
Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi was fielded from the Mahasamund constituency in the state. Congress General Secretary Ajay Maken has been fielded from New Delhi and former Pradesh Congress Committee chief J P Aggarwal from Northeast Delhi, both tickets decided through primaries.
The Congress chose not to give tickets to either Kalmadi, embroiled in the Commonwealth Games scam, or any of his relatives.
Instead, it fielded Kadam, Youth Congress President (Maharashtra) and son of senior Congressman Patangrao Kadam, from Pune.
General Secretary Madhusudan Mistry, who announced the list of candidates, said 35 per cent of the tickets had been given to youth. The party is yet to name its candidate for Nanded, where former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan is eyeing a seat.
Re-nominated Pradesh Congress Committee chiefs include Partap Singh Bajwa from Gurdaspur in Punjab, Sachin Pilot from Ajmer and Ashok Tanwar from Sirsa in Haryana.
Former Union minister C P Joshi was shifted from Bhilwara to Jaipur Rural.
Image: Suresh Kalmadi