Congress today demanded the disqualification of party turncoat and now Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Dinesh Pratap Singh in fray from the prestigious Rae Bareli constituency against Sonia Gandhi.
Congress’ Rae Bareli unit president V K Shukla has petitioned the district returning officer to disqualify Singh’s candidature under the provisions of Representation of the People Act 1951, since the latter continued to be Congress member of legislative council (MLC) in UP, while also contesting the Lok Sabha polls on another party’s ticket.
“We have filed the disqualification petition today with the district returning officer and put forth our arguments. A decision is likely to be pronounced on Monday,” Shukla told Business Standard over telephone from Rae Bareli.
The 7-page petition mentioned Singh was declared elected as an MLC from Rae Bareli Local Constituency by the Returning Officer in 2016 as a Congress candidate. However, owing to his ‘anti-party’ activities, a disqualification petition was filed with the UP legislative council chairperson on May 9, 2018 by fellow Congress MLC Deepak Singh.
Since, Dinesh Pratap Singh had filed his nomination on April 15, 2019 from Rae Bareli for the Lok Sabha polls without tendering his resignation as the Congress MLC, his nomination ought to be rejected, the party’s petition has claimed.
Earlier this month, the BJP had announced the candidature of the Congress MLC to take on Gandhi in the party’s traditional stronghold of Rae Bareli. Singh had joined the saffron party last year along with his brother, although the family had been close to the Gandhi clan for decades now. Singh was elected an MLC for the second term in 2016 as a Congress nominee.
On April 11, Sonia Gandhi, who is also the opposition United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson, had filed her nomination from Rae Bareli, while accompanied by her son and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and son-in-law Robert Vadra. Shukla is also the proposer of Sonia’s candidature.
Before filing her nomination papers, Sonia held a roadshow and offered prayers at the local Congress office. Sonia Gandhi, 72, has been representing the seat since 2004. Now, the saffron party is looking to impregnate the Congress strongholds of Rae Bareli and Amethi.
Rae Bareli would witness voting in the 5th phase on May 6. Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have not fielded their candidate in support of Congress, which has returned the favour by not contesting in their strongholds either. UP would witness polling in 7 phases across the total 80 Lok Sabha constituencies.
Rahul had filed his nomination papers on April 10 from Amethi and also held a roadshow. The three-term Amethi MP is also contesting from Southern India constituency of Wayanad, Kerala. SP and BSP are not contesting the seat in his favour.