In what could be termed as an image spoiler for the Congress ahead of the Karnataka assembly elections on May 10, BJP leader Amit Malviya tweeted a 2.09-minute video of Rajya Sabha MP Imran Pratapgarhi, a star campaigner for the Congress, in which he can be heard praising gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed. Besides, the video tweeted by Malviya also highlights that Atiq had visited Pratapgarhi’s residence for a feast in 2015.
Atiq and his brother Ashraf were killed by three men posing as journalists while they were speaking to the media in Prayagraj on Sunday.
“Imran Pratapgarhi, Rahul Gandhi’s handpicked member of Rajya Sabha and Congress’s star campaigner in Karnataka, is an apologist of don and now murdered criminal Atik Ahmed,” Malviya tweeted on Thursday.
Imran Pratapgarhi, Rahul Gandhi’s handpicked member of Rajya Sabha and Congress’s star campaigner in Karnataka, is an apologist of don and now murdered criminal Atik Ahmed… pic.twitter.com/n9fNxSB2n2— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) April 20, 2023
He sent out another tweet in Hindi: “Notorious criminal Atiq Ahmed’s ‘younger brother and heartthrob’ Imran Pratapgarhi will now campaign for Congress in Karnataka… Imran is special to Rahul Gandhi, is a Rajya Sabha MP and also a follower of Atiq.”
कुख्यात अपराधी अतीक अहमद का ‘छोटा भाई और दिल की धड़कन’ इमरान प्रतापगढ़ी अब कांग्रेस के लिए कर्नाटक में प्रचार करेगा… इमरान राहुल गांधी के खास हैं, राज्य सभा सांसद हैं और अतीक के मुरीद भी। pic.twitter.com/RUj64OpzN4
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) April 20, 2023
Apart from Malviya, other BJP leaders, too, shared several images and videos alleging a close bond between Pratapgarhi and Atiq.
“Imran Pratapgarhi called Atiq his guru, Congress is appointing such individuals with a criminal background to appease minorities. Atiq Ahmed 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,” said union minister and BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje.
The Congress’ rabble-rousing star campaigner Imran Pratapgarhi’s closeness with dreaded gangsters Atiq Ahmad and Ashraf Ahmad is outrageous.He is also known for delivering inciteful anti-Hindu speeches in Karnataka.
The party has a history of being hand in glove with mafiosos. pic.twitter.com/xuGGY7kJtd
— Shobha Karandlaje (@ShobhaBJP) April 20, 2023
Other than Pratapgarhi’s video, which is doing the rounds on social media, internet users also posted a screenshot of a post by him dated April 22, 2015: “Kal raat Atiq bhai and Ashraf sahab humari kutiya par ek chhoti se dawat par tashreef le aaye (Atiq and his brother Ashraf came to my house for a feast).”
In the photo, Atiq is sitting with Pratapgarhi. Social media users also slammed the Congress leader for his “close ties” with the gangster.
Pratapgarhi is a Rajya Sabha MP from Maharashtra and a Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh. Pratapgarhi lost the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as a Congress candidate from Moradabad and was, thereafter, appointed chairman of the minority department of the All India Congress Committee on June 3, 2021.
With inputs from News18