October 18, 2021 2:06:33 am
Former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Kadir Rana, an accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013, and former state party president RS Kushwaha on Sunday joined the Samajwadi Party (SP) in the presence of its national president Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow.
Rana had been named in a hate speech case and chargesheet was filed against him. He was elected MP from Muzaffarnagar in 2009 on a BSP ticket.
Rana, who was formerly with the SP, left the party in 2007 to join the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). In the 2007 Assembly polls, he was elected MLA from the Morna constituency as an RLD candidate. However, he switched to BSP in 2009 to contest the Lok Sabha elections and won. BSP fielded him again in 2014 but he lost.
Speaking on Rana’s return to the SP fold, on Sunday, Yadav called him a senior leader who was now back with the party. The former BSP MP, too, recalled his association with SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav.
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Addressing reporters at the party’s headquarters in the state capital, he took a fresh swipe at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party saying it “has no work to do” aside from changing names. “It believes in filling pockets instead of potholes,” he said.
“Uttar Pradesh needs a ‘yogya’ (competent) government and not a Yogi government,” the SP chief said.
On Rana being named in a case related to the Muzaffarnagar riots, SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said he was not aware of it.
When pointed out that SP was in power when cases were filed in connection with the riots, Chaudhary said, “Not sure what were the circumstances (behind his arrest) at that time.”
The BSP appointed Kushwaha as its state president in 2018 but he was removed from the post and shifted to the party’s central unit in 2019, a few months after he lost the Lok Sabha election from Salempur.
Following in the footsteps of Kushwaha and Rana, several other BSP leaders who had contested previous Assembly polls on the party’s tickets, also joined the SP on Sunday.
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