Despite delightful promises by Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the party continues to face exodus ahead of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections due in February. Senior Congress leader Imran Masood will officially join the Samajwadi Party, along with two other MLAs Naresh Saini (Behat) and Masood Akhtar (Saharanpur).
Earlier, Congress MLA from its bastion Raebareli (Sadar) had left the party and joined the BJP.
Imran Masood will reportedly reach Lucknow, along with his son-in-law, on Wednesday. Saini and Akhtar are also expected to arrive in Lucknow. Imran Masood had earlier sought time from SP chief Akhilesh Yadav to reflect on switching parties.
Earlier, he had said that the UP polls are “mainly between the SP and BJP” and was expected to quit the Congress in September last year after he had openly praised SP terming it as the “main contender for the 2022 UP polls.”
He had become an independent MLA from Muzaffarabad assembly seat in 2007 after defeating Jagdish Singh Rana of the SP. He has also won the election of Saharanpur Municipality Chairman. In 2012, he contested the assembly elections from Nakur but lost.
In 2014, he had contested from Saharanpur on a Congress ticket and stood second with 4.10 lakh votes. He contested from Nakur assembly in the 2017 assembly elections but lost to BJP candidate Dharam Singh Saini by about 1,300 votes.
Along with the assembly, Imran Masood has also tried his luck in the Lok Sabha elections but could not win.
Earlier, the prominent minority face from the western part of UP had praised the SP, giving fuel to speculations of him switching over to the party, a few days after he met SP chief at a wedding.
Previously, many senior leaders, including Jitin Prasada and Raebareli (Sadar) MLA Aditi Singh, switched over to BJP. A close aide of Priyanka Gandhi, Harendra Malik along with his son and state vice-president and former MLA Pankaj Malik, had resigned from Congress.
The one thing that was common in most of the defections was the allegations of being sidelined and ignored by the party. Besides, many senior Congress leaders have expressed their concern regarding the behaviour of people close to Priyanka Gandhi.
With inputs from News18