As its Rampur leader backs the BJP against Azam’s choice, the Congress is left red-faced

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In a further show of defiance against the party leadership’s decision not to run in the Lok Sabha bypolls in two Uttar Pradesh seats, Congress leader and former MLA Kazim Ali Khan has stated that he will support the BJP candidate because he will not be permitted to run.

“The Congress leadership was deceived and received inaccurate information about the situation on the ground from persons with entrenched political and financial interests.” All I’ve said is that the Congress is a larger national party than the Samajwadi Party, which has only three MPs. Khan told The Indian Express that the Congress should run in the byelection.

“The party is isolated, and it must break free. You (the Congress) have candidates running in Punjab, but not in Uttar Pradesh. “This is ridiculous,” he stated, adding that he had already completed his candidacy paperwork.

“…suddenly, we received word from Delhi that we would not be running in the Lok Sabha by-elections in Rampur and Azamgarh.” I considered running as an Independent candidate at one point, but did not file my nomination. “I will be running against (Samajwadi Party leader) Azam Khan and his candidate, which should come as no surprise to anyone,” he said.

The Congress stated two days ago that it will not run in the byelections, claiming that it would instead focus on revitalising the party in the state ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The BSP has also opted not to run a candidate in Rampur, leaving the race to be a two-horse race between Asim Raza of the Samajwadi Party, who is close to Azam Khan, and Ghanshyam Lodhi of the BJP, who was previously with the SP.

“My support is for the candidate who is standing against Azam Khan’s candidate in Rampur, which happens to be the BJP candidate,” Khan stated when asked about his choice to back the BJP candidate in Rampur. I am still a member of Congress. But in Rampur, I’ll be doing public rallies in support of the BJP candidate.”

Kazim Ali Khan, whose father and mother had previously represented Rampur in the Lok Sabha, ran against Azam Khan in this year’s Assembly elections but lost terribly.

In the recently ended Assembly elections, BJP alliance partner Apna Dal fielded Kazim Ali Khan’s son, Haider Ali Khan, against Azam Khan’s son Abdullah Azam Khan, a former minister in the BSP cabinet. Haider was also defeated by Azam’s son.

Despite coming from a family of Congressmen, Kazim Ali Khan moved his allegiances to the BSP and then the SP before returning to the Congress.

“Every party has ups and downs, but it doesn’t mean you should give up.” I’m not going down without a fight. I have not resigned from Congress. Because the party hasn’t told us who we should vote for in this bypoll, we have the freedom to select,” he added, adding that the by-election would disprove the myth that Azam Khan gets all the minority votes in Rampur.

“The party’s disciplinary department is looking into the situation and its judgement will be notified,” Congress vice-president in charge of organisation Yogesh Dixit said, adding that there was “nothing much to comment on at this point.”

On Tuesday, Congress leader Madhusudan Tripathi filed his nomination as a Congress candidate from Azamgarh, putting the party on the defensive.

Despite the fact that his candidacy caused consternation among the party’s ranks, the party claimed that Tripathi had not been given a symbol.