BENGALURU: After the Congress announced its list of star campaigners for the upcoming Karnataka Assembly election, the BJP has raised a storm over the inclusion of Congress Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra, Imran Pratapgarhi’s name, pointing out that he had close links with slain UP gangster-politician Atiq Ahmed.
Addressing a press conference here today, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Shobha Karandlaje said Pratapgarhi had claimed that Atiq Ahmed was his ‘guru’ and that the BJP strongly condemns the Congress naming him as a star campaigner. “He has written shayaris on Atiq Ahmed, against the country and society. The Congress has special love for such anti-nationals”, she said.
“Imran Pratapgarhi is still in touch with people jailed under the Goonda Act and the Congress got him elected to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra. He had come to Karnataka and had made a provocative speech ‘Muslims don’t know to bow their heads, but only to chop heads. He also spoke in favour of Tipu Sultan and had tried to pit the Muslims in Karnataka against Hindus. The Congress knows all this, but is quiet”, she said.
Further, the Union minister said, “Pratapgarhi was in close contact with Atiq and Ashraf Ahmed. Some Congress leaders themselves had demanded the arrest of those in touch with gangsters, but the Congress stands with criminals and anti-nationals. The party should explain the rationale behind naming such a person as a star campaigner. Is the party planning to again pit Muslims in the state against Hindus?” she questioned.
BJP national general secretary C T Ravi too attacked the Congress in a tweet, saying, “CONgress Rajya Sabha MP Imran Pratapgarhi who held Gangster Atique Ahmed in high respect is the party’s STAR CAMPAIGNER in Karnataka Elections. The truth is that CONgress has always created, nurtured & supported criminals & gangsters to remain in power. Right, @RahulGandhi?
The issue echoed at the national level too with BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi raising the issue in Delhi while party spokesperson Shehzad Poonawala and party IT cell convener Amit Malviya tweeting about it.