The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rajiv loyalist in homecoming

New Delhi, Aug. 20: Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has finally cleared one-time staunch Rajiv Gandhi loyalist from Amethi Sanjay Singh’s return to the party. Singh has spent nearly 15 years out of the party — he was in the Janata Dal for nine years before joining the BJP in 1997.

On the day of the late Prime Minister’s birth anniversary, Singh paid tributes to his erstwhile leader at the Veerbhoomi samadhi in the capital before the Congress made a formal announcement of his return.

Singh, who used to be Rajiv’s election campaigner in Amethi in the 1980s, has been knocking on Congress doors for quite some time. He won the Amethi Lok Sabha seat in 1998 as a BJP candidate, defeating Capt. Satish Sharma of the Congress.

Singh, however, lost the seat to Sonia by a huge margin in the last elections.

Amita Modi, his wife, represents one of the Assembly segments of Sonia’s Amethi parliamentary seat in the Uttar Pradesh legislature as a BJP member.

Modi is also a minister in the Mayavati-led Bahujan Samaj Party-BJP government.

Party insiders have been attributing the delay in Sonia’s decision to readmit Singh to the Congress-fold to reservations on the part of her daughter Priyanka Gandhi.

Till recently, it was said that Priyanka was not convinced that Singh’s return would add to the Congress’ strength in Amethi.

Perhaps, the loss of the Gauri Ganj Assembly seat to the BSP in the Assembly bypoll earlier this year seems to have prompted the party chief to take every possible step to strengthen the party organisation in time for next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

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