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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Four ‘influential’ leaders join Congress, give party boost ahead of Lok Sabha elections

Chaudhary Lal Singh, Jai Prakash Patel, Pappu Yadav and Danish Ali joined Cong on Wednesday

Sanjay K. Jha New Delhi Published 21.03.24, 05:41 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

Four “influential” leaders — Chaudhary Lal Singh, Jai Prakash Patel, Pappu Yadav and Danish Ali — joined the Congress on Wednesday, giving the party a boost in Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh ahead of the parliamentary elections.

Chaudhary Lal Singh, former Congress MP from Jammu and Kashmir who had switched to the BJP, returned to his old party. Kashmir in-charge Bharatsinh Solanki and state Congress leaders said Lal Singh’s return would strengthen the party in the Jammu region.

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Lal Singh said: “Everybody will have to change. Everybody is suffering. There is fear everywhere. But I returned to the Congress because I love this party.”

Lal Singh, a two-term MP from Udhampur and a former state minister, had quit the Congress because he was denied a ticket in 2014. Mentioning the Bharat Jodo Yatra, he said: “Nobody can stop Rahul Gandhi now.”

Jai Prakash Patel, the sitting BJP MLA and whip in the Jharkhand Assembly, is the son of veteran OBC leader Teklal Mahto. They are one of the most influential families
in Jharkhand.

Patel, likely to be fielded in the parliamentary election from Hazaribagh, could prove to be a formidable candidate. He is the sitting MLA from the Mandu Assembly segment of the constituency. Patel’s father was a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MP from the neighbouring Giridih constituency and a five-term MLA.

Patel said he joined the BJP and worked hard for its success in the 2019 parliamentary election but didn’t feel comfortable ideologically. “I didn’t find any reflection of my father’s ideology in the BJP. But I was very impressed by Rahul Gandhi’s padyatra. I believe INDIA’s agenda is pro-people and hence I am joining the Congress even though I will have to relinquish my position as an MLA,” he said.

Five–term MP Pappu Yadav merged his Jan Adhikar Party with the Congress. Yadav, a controversial strongman of Bihar, had been trying to join the Congress for several years but local resistance delayed his entry even though his wife Ranjeet Ranjan is a Rajya Sabha member of the Congress. Pappu Yadav’s joining was finally cleared after both Lalu Prasad and Tejashwi Yadav approved it.

Pappu Yadav said his party, though not very successful electorally, was known in Bihar for its “struggle and service”. He has influence in both north Bihar and Seemanchal and is also a candidate for the Lok Sabha elections. Though the seat-sharing is yet to be finalised, the Congress expects to contest nine seats in the state. Bihar in-charge Mohan Prakash said Pappu Yadav’s joining would strengthen the Congress as well as the alliance in the state.

Pappu Yadav said he had always followed the secular ideology of the Congress and believed that there was no one in world history like Rahul, who had walked 4,000km from Kanyakumari to Kashmir to understand the problems of the people.

Danish Ali, the Amroha MP from Uttar Pradesh, said the nation’s plight was not hidden from anybody. “On one side there are divisive forces that want to destroy democracy; on the other side are the forces struggling to save the country and the Constitution. We have to decide what we have to do to fight the divisive forces. It had become difficult to fight the BJP being in the party where I was.”

Ali was in the Bahujan Samajwadi Party, which is accused of helping the BJP.

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