Kirti Azad, suspended Bihar BJP leader, joins Congress
The 60-year-old was suspended from the BJP in 2015 for anti-party activities. Azad, a former cricketer who represented India, is likely to seek a ticket from Darbhanga constituency in Bihar.Updated: Feb 18, 2019 12:33 IST
Former BJP lawmaker Kirti Azad joined the Congress on Monday in presence of party president Rahul Gandhi. The 60-year-old was suspended from the BJP in 2015 for anti-party activities.
Azad, a former cricketer who represented India, is likely to seek a ticket from Darbhanga constituency in Bihar. The constituency has traditionally seen a fight between the BJP and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
Son of former Bihar chief minister Bhagwat Jha Azad, Kirti Azad has been asserting that he would fight the Darbhanga seat, come what may. Asked if his candidature from Darbhanga was cleared by the RJD, Azad said he was joining the Congress, not the RJD.
Azad had defeated RJD’s four-time MP Md Ali Ashraf Fatmi in 2014 by nearly 34,000 votes, while JD-U’s Sanjay Kumar Jha was a distant third with 1.04-lakh votes. This time, Jha is positioning himself as the NDA candidate on the JD-U ticket.
Since 1999, Fatmi has been the main contender for Azad. Fatmi had won in 2004 against Azad. If Azad becomes the GA candidate with the backing of the RJD, it could add to his strength.
The RJD and Congress have decided to fight the Lok Sabha polls together in Bihar, though an arrangement for seat sharing is yet to be finalised.
Buoyed by the recent successes in the Hindi heartland and a rally in Patna, the Congress is eyeing a better bargain in Bihar to increase its muscle.
First Published: Feb 18, 2019 12:30 IST