In what could be termed as another setback for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, senior party leader Imran Masood on Sunday confirmed that he will be switching to Samajwadi Party soon as the fight in the upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections was mainly between the SP and BJP. The move by Masood was speculated since September last year after he had openly praised Samajwadi Party terming it as the main contender for the 2022 UP polls.
As per news agency ANI, the All India Congress general secretary Imran Masood said, “Current political circumstances indicate that there is a direct fight between BJP and Samajwadi Party in UP. I will hold a meeting with my supporters tomorrow and then seek time from Akhilesh ji.”
Masood became an independent MLA from Muzaffarabad assembly seat in 2007. He defeated Jagdish Singh Rana of 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 contested from Saharanpur on a Congress ticket. In that, he stood second by getting about 4.10 lakh votes. After this, 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 former MLA and Congress leader from the western part of the state, Masood had praised SP giving fuel to speculations of him switching over to the party, a few days after Masood had also met SP chief Akhilesh Yadav at a marriage function. The exodus in Congress continues as many senior leaders including Jitin Prasada switched over to BJP recently. Also, Congress Raebareli (Sadar) MLA Aditi Singh had recently switched over to BJP.
Previously, another close aide of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, 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 in the party. Also, many senior Congress leaders have expressed their concern regarding the behavior of people close to Priyanka Gandhi.