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Bengal’s Mamata strikes Cong in UP,poaches farmer leader

The Congress party got a setback as its senior party leader VM Singh,who had refused a party ticket from Barkhera last month,announced to contest against the Congress candidate from the same seat on All India Trinamool Congress ticket,on Monday.

Written by Express News Service | Lucknow |
January 31, 2012 4:00:24 am

The Congress party got a setback as its senior party leader VM Singh,who had refused a party ticket from Barkhera last month,announced to contest against the Congress candidate from the same seat on All India Trinamool Congress ticket,on Monday. Singh joined Trinamool Congress on Monday in the presence of Sultan Ahmed,who is Union minister of State for Tourism and also general secretary of Trinamool Congress.

The exit of VM Singh might come costly for Congress because he is known as a farmers’ leader in Terai belt of western Uttar Pradesh. As a convenor of Rastriya Kisan Majdoor Sangh,he had been fighting for the cause of farmers,especially sugarcane farmers,for a long time. He was given a Congress ticket from Barkhera Assembly seat but he had refused to contest elections on the ticket alleging that the party did not stand by him when he was raising local issues.

“They never stood by me while I was raising local issues. They never backed me up when the Mayawati Government,and even Railways,slapped cases on me for an incident where I was not even present. If I am a criminal in their eyes,then I have no business to be part of their party or contest on their ticket,” Singh told The Indian Express. He said that he had told the same to senior Congress leaders before leaving the party.

Singh informed that apart from contesting from Barkhera,he would also contest from Palia seat in Lakhimpur Khiri against the Congress candidate there. After Singh refused to contest on the Congress ticket,the party had fielded Joginder Singh from Barkhera. Congress has fielded Vinod Tiwari from the Palia Assembly seat.

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“We have offered our support to strengthen the base of Trinamool Congress at least in the Terai Belt. We have been raising issues of farmers and have been fighting for their cause in the similar manner as Trinamool has been doing in West Bengal.” Singh told The Indian Express. He said that apart from his own constituencies,he would also tour about 15 other Assembly constituencies in the Terai Belt of the state.

Singh is uncle to BJP MP Varun Gandhi and had contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections against Varun from Pilibhit on a Congress ticket but had lost. VM Singh was the one who had filed a petition against Varun after 2009 Assembly polls and sought quashing of Varun’s election for his alleged “communal speech”. After he had refused to contest on the Congress ticket,senior party leaders,including Digvijay Singh,had tried to persuade him that his issues would be addressed.

Singh informed that Trinamool has promised to take up the farmers’ agenda in UP.

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First published on: 31-01-2012 at 04:00:24 am

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