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Shazia kin, Akbar in BJP

Anita Pratap, a former journalist who is the AAP candidate from Ernakulam, interacts with the media in Kochi on Saturday. AAP has fielded Phiroze Palkhivala, son of the late jurist Nani Palkhivala, from the Mumbai North-Central seat against Priya Dutt. (PTI)

New Delhi, March 22: The BJP today welcomed a string of new entrants including former The Telegraph editor M.J. Akbar, Nitish Kumar confidant N.K. Singh and Aam Aadmi Party leader Shazia Ilmi’s brother Aijaz.

Another to join the party was Delhi bar council member R.S. Goswami, president of the World Brahmin Federation.

Sources said his induction was “important” to scotch the buzz that under Rajnath Singh’s presidentship, the BJP was “pandering excessively” to his Rajput kinsmen while choosing Lok Sabha candidates.

Aijaz Ilmi was once close to Congress Union minister Salman Khurshid and is the brother-in-law of Arif Mohammad Khan, who was Union minister in Rajiv Gandhi’s and V.P. Singh’s governments before joining the Bahujan Samaj Party and the BJP for a while.

Ilmi comes from a distinguished Kanpur family that owns one of Uttar Pradesh’s leading Urdu dailies.

Akbar, now an author and columnist, had been Congress MP from Kishangunj, Bihar, between 1989 and 1991.