The State Congress on Friday announced candidates for Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, where bypolls will be held on March 11.
While the party chose Dr Surheeta Chatterjee Kareem, a gynaecologist, as its candidate from Gorakhpur, it fielded Manish Mishra, son of former IAS officer J N Mishra, for the Phulpur seat. The bypolls have been necessitated as their representatives Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya were elected to the state Assembly.
A Bengali Brahmin married to a Muslim, 59-year-old Kareem had contested the 2012 mayoral elections from Gorakhpur on a Congress ticket and bagged 85,000 votes. Mishra, on the other hand, is a state Congress general secretary and his father an AICC member.
Congress state president Raj Babbar confirmed the candidature of both nominees.
When contacted, Kareem said: “I had got married in 1984… and through we do not have any direct link to any party, but for long we have been supporters of Congress. In 2012, the party chose me for the mayoral election. Though I lost to the BJP candidate, the party has again shown faith in me and I will work hard to justify it.”
Asked if she faces challenges, Kareem said there were none. “We never felt any resistance or discrimination. Patients do not discriminate… friends do not discriminate… It is only for the last few years that we are hearing things like love jihad… I hope we would act as a messenger of social harmony in such times.”
Mishra, who has an MBA, said: “We come from the Congress family. I have been a Youth Congress office-bearer as well. The party has chosen me to contest and we will ensure that false promises of the BJP are exposed…” He said his 79-year-old father will campaign for him.