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HindustanTimes Tue,30 Sep 2014

In run-up to polls, three legislators to join Congress

Atul Mathur , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 22, 2013
First Published: 01:31 IST(22/8/2013) | Last Updated: 16:14 IST(7/9/2013)

At least three sitting legislators, currently representing three different political parties, are likely to join the Congress.

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Sources said the three MLAs — Shoaib Iqbal, Mohammad Asif Khan and Ram Singh Netaji — are in touch with the Congress leadership and may announce the switch soon. Iqbal won the 2008 assembly elections from Matia Mahal constituency on a Loktantrik Janshakti Party ticket, while Khan won from Okhla on Rashtriya Janata Dal ticket. Netaji won an election in 2008 from Badarpur assembly constituency on a Bahujan Samajwadi Party ticket. Khan had resigned from RJD some time back.

Sources said former MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, who had won two elections from Badarpur constituency in 1993 and 2003 but lost two in 1998 and 2008 from the same seat, is likely to join the Congress too. Both Netaji and Bidhuri have been in the Congress at different points in time.

According to sources, the three sitting MLAs and the former MLA are well known leaders in their area and capable of winning elections on their own. “The Congress party will certainly gain in the upcoming elections if these leaders join the party. But bringing them into the party’s fold on mutually agreeable terms will not be easy,” a senior party leader said.

Sources said the biggest challenge will be to have both Bidhuri and Netaji together in the party. Both the leaders represent Badarpur assembly constituency and have a huge base in the area. Sources said there are talks that the Congress might convince Bidhuri to contest from Tughlaqabad and let Netaji contest from Badarpur.

Khan confirmed that he was in touch with the Congress, but Netaji denied it. Iqbal could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.


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