BJP attacks Congress over Atiq Ahmad-Pratapgarhi link: ‘his heartbeat will now…’

Apr 20, 2023 02:41 PM IST

Karandlaje, speaking about one of the campaigners for the Congress party Imran Pratapgarhi, said, “Gangster Atiq Ahmad and Ashraf were his friends.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday attacked Congress for including Rajya Sabha member Imran Pratapgarhi's name in its star campaigners' list for the upcoming Karnataka assembly elections. BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya tweeted a video signalling connection between murdered gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad with Pratapgarhi and said, “Notorious criminal Atiq Ahmed's 'younger brother and heartbeat' will now campaign for Congress in Karnataka.

Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf - who was shot dead alongside him on live national TV - were both accused in the February murder of Umesh Pal.
Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf - who was shot dead alongside him on live national TV - were both accused in the February murder of Umesh Pal.

"Imran is special to Rahul Gandhi, is a Rajya Sabha MP and also a follower of Atiq,” he wrote on Twitter posting a video.

In the video, Atiq Ahmad is seen calling Pratapgarhi his ‘younger brother and heartbeat’.

Earlier on Thursday, Union minister Shobha Karandlaje claimed a connection between Atiq Ahmad - shot dead last week by three men while in custody of Uttar Pradesh Police - and the Congress and declared the party was 'in support of those who are criminals and anti-nationals'.

Speaking less than three weeks before the 2023 Karnataka Assembly election, the junior union agriculture minister pointed to a 'friendship' between Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf and Pratapgarhi, who is No 37 on the party's list of star campaigners for this poll.

"Gangster Atiq Ahmad and Ashraf were his (Imran Pratapgarhi) friends. Imran used to call them brothers... Congress has kept him on the list of star campaigners for Karnataka polls, which shows Congress is in support of criminals and anti-nationals," she declared to news agency ANI.

Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf - who was shot dead alongside him on live national TV - were both accused in the February murder of Umesh Pal, who was a witness to the 2005 killing of Bahujan Samaj Party lawmaker Raju Pal. Atiq's son Asad Ahmad, also an accused in the case, and his aide were killed last week too - in an 'encounter' with UP Police's Special Task Force.

An under-fire UP government and police force have announced independent investigations into Atiq's murder, with questions being asked about the ease with which his killers broke his 'guard'.

The Congress released its list - 40 star campaigners for the Karnataka election - on Wednesday.

The list includes expected heavyweights like Sonia Gandhi, the chairperson of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, and Rahul Gandhi - who remains disqualified from the Lok Sabha after a Gujarat court earlier today refused to stay his conviction in the 2019 'Modi surname case' - as well as party boss Mallikarjun Kharge and the leader of the Congress' state unit DK Shivakumar.

Also on the list is ex-chief minister Siddaramaiah - widely seen as Shivakumar's rival in the race for the CM's post should the Congress win - and another former chief minister in Jagadish Shettar, the ex-Bharatiya Janata Party leader whose cross-over this week made national headlines.

The list also includes Congress veterans like KC Venugopal, Shashi Tharoor, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Jairam Ramesh, P Chidambaram, and the chief ministers of the three states the party rules - Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan), Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh), Sukhwinder Singh Sukku (Himachal Pradesh).

On the candidates' side, the Congress has released six lists totalling 223 names for the state's 224-seat Assembly. Karnataka will vote on May 10 and results will be announced May 13.

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    Sanskriti Falor is a Senior Content Producer at the News Desk of HT Digital. Having worked in Digital Media for the past two years, she is interested in covering civic issues and global affairs.

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