January 21, 2022

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Big jolt to Cong in UP as AICC secy Imran Masood joins SP

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Big jolt to Cong in UP as AICC secy Imran Masood joins SP
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Big jolt to Cong in UP as AICC secy Imran Masood joins SP
Big jolt to Cong in UP as AICC secy Imran Masood joins SP

MEERUT: In a jolt to Congress ahead of the assembly elections, senior Congress leader and AICC secretary in-charge of Delhi, Imran Masood, joined Samajwadi Party (SP) on Monday, leaving the grand old party faceless in western Uttar Pradesh. Masood, considered a heavyweight in Saharanpur, has called the poll race a “direct fight between SP and BJP” and, hence, he chose to “stand with Akhilesh Yadav now”.
“I got respect and honour in Congress, and Priyanka Gandhi ji gave me a lot of opportunities to work. But at the moment, it is important to stop BJP and there is no other alternative except SP,” Masood added, without revealing the seat from which he will contest.
Interestingly, SP is yet to issue a formal statement on the west UP leader’s induction into the party. A senior party leader from the region said, “Masood clan has always had a close proximity with the SP high command. Imran’s uncle and mentor Rasheed Masood was also very close to both Mulayam Singh and Akhilesh Yadav. If Imran joins SP, I think it will be a homecoming for him.”
In September last year, Masood kicked up a political storm by praising SP chief Akhilesh, saying “SP is the only party that can defeat BJP in UP.”
Reacting sharply to Monday’s development, Pankhuri Pathak, Congress’ national media panellist, said, “Nobody can stop anyone from leaving or joining a party. Our general secretary, Priyanka Gandhi, had earlier said that she knew some people would leave and did not try to stop anyone. This is a fight for courageous people. We don’t want people who switch loyalties at the drop of a hat.”
Masood had shot into prominence in the run up to 2014 Lok Sabha polls when he had hit headlines for allegedly using derogatory language against Narendra Modi at a rally and was booked for the same.
Though he garnered a considerable number of votes that ran into lakhs in both the general elections on a Congress ticket, he hasn’t been able to win an election since 2007 — either Lok Sabha or assembly. In 2014 LS polls, Masood got 407,909 votes but lost to Raghav Lakhanpal of BJP. In 2019, he was second runner-up with 207,068 votes.
Meanwhile, police have filed an FIR against Masood for “flouting model code of conduct and The Epidemic Diseases Act provisions”. Saharanpur SP (city) Rajesh Kumar said, “On Monday, a sizable crowd had gathered at the house of Imran Masood which was against the ECI norms. In all, 300 people, including 10 named, have been booked.”

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