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Rashid Alvi joins Congress

April 11, 2004 17:46 IST
Last Updated: April 11, 2004 20:17 IST

Expelled Bahujan Samaj Party leader Rashid Alvi on Sunday joined the Congress saying he wanted to strengthen secular forces.

Emerging from a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi, he said contesting elections was not a precondition to his joining the Congress. He represented Amroha in Uttar Pradesh in the dissolved Lok Sabha. He would do whatever work the Congress president assigned, including campaigning for the party.

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Leader of the BSP Parliamentary Party in the last Lok Sabha, Alvi was expelled in March after he accused party president Mayawati of working under Bharatiya Janata Party pressure and taking bribes for allotting party tickets.

Without naming Samajwadi Party, Alvi accused it of not forthcoming for a secular tie-up with the Congress, which he said would ultimately benefit communal forces. "I pursued the SP for a tie-up with the Congress. But I regret that nothing came out even after month-long talks," he said adding some parties were blaming the Congress but they themselves were not interested in an alliance.

Referring to reports that the SP had offered 18 Lok Sabha seats to the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, Alvi said the party is not under any compulsion to enter into a tie-up but it was still ready to accept the proposal, if made honestly.

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