In the run up to the state Assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Samajwadi Party and Congress released lists of their candidates revealing several changes in their strategy to win the 403 Uttar Pradesh seats. Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj Singh is among several senior BJP leaders’ relatives to have been named in their second list of 155 candidates on Sunday. With the release of its second list, the Samajwadi Party has declared 287 of the 298 seats it plans to contest as part of its alliance with the Congress.

The Congress released its first list of 41 candidates after seat-sharing negotiations, which secured them 105 seats. The party lost five of 10 seats in its bastions of Amethi and Rae Bareli to its alliance partner.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav made a few changes to the ticket allotments, after the party’s founder Mulayam Singh Yadav was redesignated to the post of a sanrakshak (guardian). Akhilesh Yadav denied backing jailed politician Mukhtar Ansari, who is the Mau MLA. He allotted the ticket to Altaf Ansari.

The Samajwadi Party-Congress pre-poll alliance was formally announced at a joint event chaired by SP State President Naresh Uttam Patel, SP Vice President Kiranmoy Nanda and Congress State President Raj Babbar on Sunday.

Within the BJP, Rajasthan governor and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh’s grandson Sandeep Singh bagged a party ticket, while the BJP’s Kairana MP Hukkum Singh’s daughter Mriganka also got the party’s backing for her candidature. Sitting Noida MLA Vimla Botham was denied a ticket to make way for the Home Minister’s son Pankaj Singh.

The Uttar Pradesh elections will be held in seven phases from February 11 to March 8. Votes will be counted on March 11.