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Cong-SP contest: Beni

SAMAJWADI PARTY (SP) general secretary Beni Prasad Verma said that the main contest in the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha by-election would be between Congress nominee Sonia Gandhi and SP candidate Raj Kumar Chaudhury.

india Updated: Apr 21, 2006 00:56 IST

SAMAJWADI PARTY (SP) general secretary Beni Prasad Verma said that the main contest in the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha by-election would be between Congress nominee Sonia Gandhi and SP candidate Raj Kumar Chaudhury.

He brushed aside the candidature of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Vinay Katiyar, who, he said, was just like a ‘Skylab’ and had no impact.

Talking to newsmen here on Thursday, Verma said that the BJP had no base in the constituency and Katiyar would be relegated to the ‘fifth position’. Verma further said that Katiyar’s nomination was part of a conspiracy hatched by the Congress and the BJP to damage the prospects of the SP candidate. But they would not succeed, he added.

He said that Katiyar was hopping from one constituency to another for success.

Verma accused the Congress of being ‘anti-Muslim and anti-farmers’. He said the party would raise the twin issues during the election campaign. Not committing that there would be any star campaigner to counter Rahul Gandhi, he said the senior party leaders would be deployed at the sector level.

He said the party, which was runner-up with 1.28 lakh votes against Sonia Gandhi (3.50 lakh votes) in 2004 election, would improve its position. However, he put the onus of the party’s victory Amar Singh.

He said that with a view to Rae Bareli election, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had issued statement about constitutional amendment to restore minority character of the Aligarh Muslim University.

He said in the absence of two-third majority in Parliament, constitutional amendment was impossible. Thus, the UPA government should bring simple legislation to solve the problem which had been agitating Muslims. He said the UPA government had insulted the minority community on Iran issue, too.