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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Congress left red-faced as its Rampur leader backs BJP against Azam nominee

Congress leader and former MLA from Rampur, Kazim Ali Khan, has said that he would back the BJP candidate since he has not been allowed to contest the election.

Two days ago, the Congress had announced that it would not contest the bypolls, maintaining that the party would first focus on rejuvenating the outfit in the state for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. (Express Photo)

In a fresh sign of defiance against the party leadership’s decision to not contest the Lok Sabha bypoll in two seats of Uttar Pradesh, Congress leader and former MLA from Rampur, Kazim Ali Khan, has said that he would back the BJP candidate since he has not been allowed to contest the election.

“The Congress leadership has been misinformed and got wrong feedback of the ground situation from those with vested political and financial interests. All I have been saying is that Congress is a bigger party at the national level, while Samajwadi Party has only three MPs. The Congress should contest the bypoll,” Khan told The Indian Express.

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“The party is in isolation and it must come out of it. You (Congress) are fielding candidates in Punjab but you are not fielding candidates in a state like Uttar Pradesh. This is absurd,” he said, adding that he had prepared his nomination papers.

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“…suddenly we received a message from Delhi that we are not contesting the Lok Sabha bypoll in Rampur and Azamgarh. I for once thought to contest as an Independent but did not file my nomination. I am going to oppose (Samajwadi Party leader) Azam Khan and his candidate, which should not be surprising for anyone,” he added.

Two days ago, the Congress had announced that it would not contest the bypolls, maintaining that the party would first focus on rejuvenating the outfit in the state for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The BSP too has decided not to field its candidate in Rampur, making the contest bipolar between Samajwadi Party’s Asim Raza, who is considered close to Azam Khan, and BJP’s Ghanshyam Lodhi, who was earlier with the SP.

When asked about his decision to support the BJP candidate in Rampur, Khan said: “My support is for the candidate who is standing against Azam Khan’s candidate in Rampur, and it happens to be the BJP candidate. I am still a Congress leader. But in Rampur, I am going to hold public meetings in support of BJP candidate.”

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Kazim Ali Khan, whose father and mother had represented Rampur Lok Sabha seat in the past, had contested this year’s Assembly polls from Rampur against Azam Khan but lost badly.

The former minister in the BSP government, Kazim Ali Khan’s son, Haider Ali Khan, was fielded by BJP alliance partner Apna Dal from Suar against Azam Khan’s son Abdullah Azam Khan in the recently concluded Assembly polls. Haider too lost to Azam’s son.

While Kazim Ali Khan comes from a family of Congressmen, he shifted his loyalties to the BSP and also the SP in between before returning to the Congress.

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“Every party goes through ups and downs, but that does not mean that you give up. I am not going to give up. I have not left Congress. Since the party has not given any direction as to whom should we support in this bypoll, it means that we are free to choose,” he said, adding that this by-election would prove the notion wrong that all the minority votes in Rampur go to Azam Khan.

Maintaining that there was nothing much to comment on it at present, Congress vice-president in charge of organisation Yogesh Dixit said, “The party’s disciplinary department is looking into the matter and its decision would be communicated.”

On Tuesday, Congress leader Madhusudan Tripathi filed his nomination from Azamgarh as a Congress nominee, leaving the party red-faced.

Even as his nomination created confusion among the cadre, the party said that Tripathi had not been provided with any symbol.

First published on: 09-06-2022 at 05:41:42 am
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