Former Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and Rampur MP Jaya Prada is likely to get the Congress ticket for Moradabad parliamentary seat, replacing cricketer-turned-MP Mohammad Azharuddin.
“Jaya Prada will meet Rahul Gandhi tomorrow for formally announcing her decision. It is almost final now. We have sent her name in the panel of three candidates for Moradabad. We are hopeful to win the seat,” A P Singh, Moradabad District Congress Committee president, told The Indian Express.
When contacted, Jaya refused to divulge much about the development and requested to “wait and watch”.
Singh, however, claimed with the entry of Jaya, her mentor and Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh will also join the Congress. “It is just a matter of time now,” he stated.
“We had told the observer, Satish Yajmani, three months ago clearly that only Jaya Prada can win the seat for the Congress. I took the consent of Jaya Prada. I am not a fool to put her name when she is not interested,” Singh asserted.
The other two names include those of MLC Naseeb Pathan and former MLA Saulat Ali.
“It is a fact that she has not joined the party till now, but what is the use of fielding anyone who is in the Congress for past 50 years and cannot get even 50 votes,” he stated. Singh claimed that the anti-incumbency due to Azharuddin not visiting Moradabad will also be neutralised with Jaya replacing him.
There are reports that Azharudding is keen to the Lok Sabha polls from West Bengal and not from Moradabad.
Jaya Prada is staying in Moradabad since she alleged her bete noire and UP minister Azam Khan pressured the Modi Hotel in Rampur to deny her a room.
The SP has fielded former mayor S T Hasan from Moradabad. Jaya Prada, who has won two consecutive elections from Rampur parliamentary seat, had left SP along with Amar Singh in 2010.
The least number of women candidates have been fielded by the Congress which has given tickets to just five women contestants.