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Roughed Up at Mayawati's Rally, Bhim Army May Lend Support to Congress's Saharanpur Candidate

Bhim Army district chief Kamal Walia met Imran Masood after the organisation's supporters were heard pledging support to the grand old party's candidate at the venue of Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi cancelled rally on Monday.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | @qazifarazahmad

Updated:April 9, 2019, 1:45 PM IST
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Roughed Up at Mayawati's Rally, Bhim Army May Lend Support to Congress's Saharanpur Candidate
File photo of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad.

Lucknow: Congress’ candidate from the politically crucial Saharanpur Lok Sabha constituency in west UP, Imran Masood, might just prove to be an insurmountable challenge for the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party –Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance as he has now claimed the support of Chandrashekhar Azad’s Bhim Army.

In a surprising development, Bhim Army district chief Kamal Walia met Imran Masood, a video of which News18 was able to acquire. A formal announcement is expected after Priyanka’s rally on Tuesday.

Masood’s candidature from the Saharanpur seat was already a looming threat for the Mahagathbandhan, who has fielded Haji Fazlur Rehman, given its likely impact towards a divided Muslim vote.

Imran Masood had bagged around 4 lakh votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha Polls, losing to BJP’s Raghav Lakhanpal by a margin of 65000 votes. But, Bhim Army's support to Imran Masood is now likely to boost the grand-old party’s chances in the constituency.

The development is said to have been spurred by an incidence that took place during BSP’s Meerut rally on Monday in which Bhim Army supporters were roughed up while Chief Mayawati was addressing the crowd.

Several Bhim Army supporters had reached the rally venue with posters of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar after which they were allegedly roughed up by BSP supporters and police personnel. A delegation of the Bhim Army had also been present during SP-BSP-RLD’s first joint rally in Deoband on Sunday.

Mayawati’s Meerut rally seems to have led the Bhim Army to change its allegiances. Congress chief Rahul Gandhi along with AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi were expected to hold three rallies in the western party of the state on Monday, which were cancelled due to bad weather.

Among those who stood in wait for the Congress leaders, were Bhim Army members who then took to the stage to announce their support for Masood.

They said that it was Imran Masood who had first reached out to the organisation when Chandrashekhar Azad was arrested. Recently, Masood also took a dig at the BSP supremo and without taking the Bhim Army chief's name, said that for the first time Mayawati was scared of a Dalit leader.

Mayawati had on March 31 targeted Bhim Army in a series of tweets terming them as ‘agents’ of BJP. The former Uttar Pradesh CM also slammed the Bhim Army chief alleging that the BJP was behind his organisation as they "want to divide Dalit votes ahead of the upcoming polls".

“The BJP tried very hard to help Bhim Army chief Chandrasekhar join the BSP as its mole but failed in its conspiracy. It is very imperative in the national interest to dislodge autocratic, despotic anti-Dalit, OBC & minorities BJP from power. Pls ensure no vote goes waste. My appeal,” Mayawati had written in a tweet.

In another tweet, the BSP chief wrote, “With the ill-intention of dividing Dalit votes & taking advantage, the BJP has conspired to field Bhim Army chief Chandrasekhar from Varanasi LS seat. This organisation was formed under BJP conspiracy & with its anti-Dalit mindset, it is now indulging in despicable politics.”

Interestingly, a few days back Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi had visited Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar at a hospital in Meerut. After meeting Chandrashekhar Azad, Priyanka Gandhi had said, “No political motive should be imputed to her meeting with Azad. He is fighting for a cause. I like his struggle and no politics should be seen in the meeting.”

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