As the political ardour is gaining pace ahead of the 2018 assembly elections in five crucial states, the Congress on Thursday released its fifth and final list of 19 candidates for Chhattisgarh Assembly election later this month.
Party MLA Gurmukh Singh Hora, Lok Sabha MP Tamradhwaj Sahu and popular Chhattisgarhi singer Mamta Chandrakar are among others in the list. The party has thus announced candidates for all the 90 seats in the state.
Chhattisgarh will go to the polls in two phases on November 12 and November 20 and the results will be announced on December 11.
Earlier, the Congress nominated Pratima Chandrakar from the Durg Rural seat, but now replaced Chandrakar by Tamradhwaj Sahu, the party MP from Durg.
On the other hand, Renu Jogi, the MLA from Kota and the wife of former chief minister Ajit Jogi, has been denied a ticket for 2018 Assembly Poll. Former police officer Vibhor Singh will be the Congress candidate from Kota.
Under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, the Congress has given prominence to interesting, young and new faces to root out four prominent state ministers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Shailesh Pandey will be in fray against minister Amar Agrawal in Bilaspur. Kanhaiya Agrawal will take on minister Brijmohan Agrawal in the Raipur City South constituency.
Laxmikanta Sahu, a woman Congress leader, has been fielded against minister Ajay Chandrakar in Kurud, while Gurdayal Singh Banjare will take on minister Dayaldas Baghel in Nawagarh.
The other new faces in the Congress's list include Rajendra Shukla (Bilha), Anil Kumar Chandra (Jaijaipur), Sangeeta Sinha (Sanjari Balod), Kunwar Singh Nishad (Gundardehi), Prakash Nayak (Raigarh), Ashish Chhabra (Bemetara) and Chakradhar Prasad Sidar (Lailunga-ST).
Anita Sharma, wife of Congress leader Yogendra Sharma, who was killed in a Naxal attack in the Jhiram Valley in May 2013, has been fielded from Dharsiwa. She had lost to the BJP's Devji Bhai Patel in the 2013 Assembly polls.
Congress MLA from Dhamtari, Gurmukh Singh Hora, has been renominated from the same seat.
Other candidates in the list are Devendra Bahadur Singh (Basna), Kuldeep Juneja (Raipur City North) and Badruddin Qureshi (Vaishali Nagar).
The Congress is seeking to oust the Raman Singh government in upcoming Chhattisgarh Assembly Elections 2018. The BJP is in power in the state since 2003. In the 2013 Assembly polls, it bagged 49 seats while the Congress won 39. The remaining two were won by the BSP and an Independent respectively.
In what could be a big blow to the Congress, former party leader Ajit Jogi's Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J), in September announced an alliance with the Mayawati-led BSP and the Communist Party of India (CPI).