Hoping to strengthen the “joint secular front” in the national capital, five-time Janata Dal (United) MLA Shoaib Iqbal joined the Congress on Thursday. Iqbal joined the party along with his son Mohammad Iqbal and nephew Khurram Iqbal, who are both councillors, and several supporters.
Their induction to the party was done in the presence of AICC general secretary in-charge for Delhi Shakeel Ahmed and Pradesh Congress Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely at the AICC headquarters.
Ahead of the upcoming polls in Delhi, Iqbal vowed to fight communal forces in the country and prevent the division of Muslim votes.
While Congress leaders emphasised that Iqbal’s joining will strengthen the party, they declined to comment on his shifting political loyalties.
Ahmed said the decision to induct the MLA into the Congress was taken after a meeting with Rahul Gandhi. “His joining… will send a message that well-known leaders are joining the Congress and expressing faith in its philosophy,” Ahmed said.”
“The biggest reason for inducting Iqbal in the party was that, irrespective of whichever party he joined or left, he never compromised with any communal party…,” Lovely said.
In a lighter vein, Iqbal said it was “not his fault” that he changed parties as they kept splitting. Iqbal also said he joined the Congress as he felt that the social atmosphere in Delhi was being vitiated by the BJP.
However, his induction has lead to apprehensions of infighting within the Congress. Sources said apart from the office bearers, no former MLAs were present during the ceremony.