The Congress leadership has played it safe in shifting the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Raj Babbar from Moradabad to Fatehpur Sikri in the latest reshuffling of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Earlier, Babbar had been fielded from Moradabad, but after field reports indicated that his candidature was not the right choice he appeared reluctant to contest from the constituency which goes to the polls in the third phase on April 23. Imran Pratapgarhiya will now contest as Congress candidate from Moradabad.

Apart from Babbar, former MP, Bal Kumar Patel, has been fielded from Banda. Brother of the notorious brigand, Shiv Kumar alias Dadua, Patel joined the Congress on Friday and was instantly rewarded with a ticket from Banda in Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh. Patel, who is a Kurmi OBC, is a former Samajwadi Party MP from Mirzapur and had contested the 2007 state assembly elections on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket.

The electoral contest in Banda, where polling will be held in the fifth phase on May 6, is poised to be an interesting one after the Samajwadi Party gave the ticket to Shyama Charan Gupta, the BJP MP from Allahabad/Prayagraj. Gupta was earlier in the SP, then joined the BJP for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and won from Allahabad. He returned to the SP last week following indications that the BJP might not field him from Allahabad/Prayagraj. Gupta is a former SP MP from Banda.

Former minister, Naseemuddin Siddiqui, has been fielded from Bijnor in western Uttar Pradesh where polling is scheduled in the first phase on April 11. Siddiqui, once considered close to BSP president Mayawati, joined the Congress in 2018. Siddiqui belongs to Banda district and was keen on being fielded from Banda constituency but the party high command preferred to field him from Bijnor which has a sizeable number of Muslim voters.

Indira Bhati had earlier been made the candidate from Bijnor. She has been replaced by Siddiqui in the seventh list of Congress candidates declared late on Friday night.

Triloki Ram Diwakar will be the candidate from Hathras (SC), Preeta Harit from Agra (SC) and Praveen Aron from Bareilly. Virendra Kumar Verma has been fielded from Hardoi (SC) and Girish Chandra Pasi from Kaushambi (SC).