Congress MLA in UP raises banner of revolt

Lucknow: A Congress legislator in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday raised the banner of revolt against the nomination of P.L. Punia as the party candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled later this month.

Three-time legislator from Gonda Sadar, Vivek Singh, shot off a terse letter to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and said many leaders supposedly close to him were sabotaging the party's prospects in the state.

Angry at the Rajya Sabha nomination of Punia, who reportedly has the support of the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) too, Singh went on to suggest that if the party was so keen on ties with the SP, the state unit should be merged with Mulayam Singh Yadav's party.

While saying that Rahul was an able leader who had the wrong people around him, the MLA also warned that if immediate course correction was not done the party's goodwill among its supporters will slide further.

The development comes when only a day is left for P.L. Punia, chairman of the Scheduled Caste Commission, to file his nomination papers here Friday.

Party general secretary Madhusudan Mistry and state president Nirmal Khatri will be present during the filing of nomination papers. Senior party leader and former union steel minister Beni Prasad Verma has already trained his guns on Punia, suggesting that he first quit as the SC Commission chief before filing nomination papers for the RS polls slated for November 20.

P.L. Punia is a retired IAS officer and has served as principal secretary to both Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati when they were leading the state. After falling out with Mayawati over the Taj trapezium scandal, Punia joined the Congress and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Barabanki in 2009. He lost to a BJP candidate in 2014. A Dalit, he found last minute favour with the Congress high command which announced his name as the lone party candidate from UP for the upper house.

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