Congress wins Kheri seat in UP after '32 years' | india | Hindustan Times
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Congress wins Kheri seat in UP after '32 years'

india Updated: May 21, 2009 15:15 IST

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Underneath the story of the spectacular gains made by the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, lies another one about the party wresting a seat in the state after 32 years.

Kheri Lok Sabha constituency was a surprise win for the Congress after Zafar Naqvi trounced two sitting MPs of Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party by a margin of over 12,000 votes.

He defeated SP candidate Ravi Verma, a three-time MP, and BSP's Iliyas Azmi, who had contested from the seat after his Shahabad constituency was declared reserve.

"The Congress under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, besides the achievements of the Manmohan Singh- led government, won the seat after 32 years. Interestingly, since 1962, the seat has remained with the Vermas with just three breaks in between," 52-year-old Naqvi told PTI.

He feels that the UPA's loan waiver scheme for farmers helped the party as people in Kheri are mostly into farming.

"The farmers' loan waiver initiative was a big hit in this constituency. Unlike the last three elections, when the Congress candidate got just about 18,000 votes, this time, we polled over two lakh," the Congress leader said.

Asked what made the Congress' win possible, Naqvi said, "Rahul Gandhi was a big factor. He brought in freshness in state politics and people, especially the youth, believes that he can bring in change. Hence, people from all sections of my constituency voted for me irrespective of religion caste or profession."

He added, "The Congress had completely lost it in the last 18 years. It was Rahul's visit to the state which turned the tide in Congress' favour."

Hoping that the Congress would head the government in the state after assembly elections in 2012, he said the real work starts only now.

"We need to have a state wide presence and only by this, we can come back to power in the state. One has to tell people that Congress is the only government which can give a clean and pro-development government," Naqvi said.