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Abu Salem to contest UP poll
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow |
March 28, 2007 22:09 IST
International gangster Abu Salem, currently facing trial for his alleged involvement in the sensational Mumbai blasts, will contest the coming Uttar Pradesh Assembly poll.
His name was announced by a little known Rashtrawadi Samajwadi Party, claiming to be a newly formed political outfit.
The party's self-styled chief Satyendra Singh Yadav told reporters in Lucknow on Wednesday afternoon, "We propose to field Abu Salem from both Mubarakpur and Azamgarh town constituencies."
He hoped, "The Election Commission would grant permission to Salem to contest the poll."
Sporting banners emboldened with slogans like 'RSP zindabad' and 'Bhagat Singh Amar Rahen', Yadav sought to equate the terrorist/mobster with the revolutionary freedom fighter.
Holding a brief for Salem, who was extradited with the help of Interpol from Portugal after being booked in the Mumbai blasts case that killed hundreds of innocents in 1993, the party leader sought to argue, "How can you describe him as a criminal when the charges against him are yet to be proved?"
"After all, there are so many other persons who are in the electoral fray even though they are facing all kinds of charges in different courts," Yadav added.
"This party was formed after Abu Salem expressed his intention to contest the UP election through his Mumbai based lawyer who was here in connection with pending criminal cases against him," Yadav said.
Yadav announced the names of eight others whom the party proposed to field from different places in the state.
Interestingly, no sooner than they disclosed Salem as their candidate, Yadav and his companion, a Bengali film actress, were shooed away from the second-rate hotel where they addressed the press conference.