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Shoaib Iqbal 'prefers' Congress over MIM to check BJP in upcoming Delhi polls
Thursday November 20, 2014 7:35 PM, & Agencies

Stating that it is most likely that the voters in Delhi would be divided on communal lines after the Trilokpuri riots, Janata Dal (United) leader and five-time MLA from Matia Mahal assembly constituency Shoaib Iqbal Thursday joined the Congress party.

Shoaib Iqbal
[Shoaib Iqbal in Delhi assembly. (File Photo)]

Along with Shoaib Iqbal, his son, Aaley Mohd Iqbal, a councillor from Turkman Gate, and nephew Khurram Iqbal, also a councillor from Jama Masjid, joined the party at the All India Congress Committee headquarters in New Delhi in presence of AICC General Secretary in-charge for Delhi Shakeel Ahmed and DPCC Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely.

Interestingly, Iqbal was earlier in talks with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehdaul Muslimeen (MIM) including party chief Asaduddin Owaisi to help open the MIM unit and streghen it in Delhi.

On his decision to join the Congress party, the Matia Mahal strongmen, Shoaib Iqbal, said the move would check the rise of the communal forces in Delhi who are expecting a wave in their favour after the Trilopuri riots in the upcoming assembly elections.

Iqbal also attributed his shift to the Congress in the interests of a 'nation-wide secular front against the communal BJP'.

"The national leadership of the JD (U) is a firm believer in secular politics and did not oppose my request to be allowed to join the Congress," Iqbal said.

"If I fought against the Congress, I would have indirectly ended up benefiting the BJP and its communal agenda. Now I will fight its divisive politics alongside the only secular party against it," Iqbal added.

Congress feels that Iqbal's entry will also help enhance the party's support in adjoining assemblies of Chandni Chowk and Ballimaran. Both these seats were won by Congress in the last polls.

"I feel that to contain BJP and communal forces this is the only way," Iqbal said.

When asked why he did not join AAP or MIM if he supports secularism and considers BJP his main rival as reported earlier, he said, "I had supported the AAP government with outside support along with Congress. But now I have no faith in the party."

"When Trilokpuri riots happened, people came to me saying something must be done and that is when I made up my mind to join Congress," Iqbal said.

To questions about Iqbal's earlier reported plan to join Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), DPCC Chief Lovely alleged that both AAP and MIM were "brothers and sisters" and were trying to benefit RSS and BJP.

It is estimated that nearly 60% voters in Matia Mahal assembly are Muslims.

Iqbal is among the six leaders from the Muslim community in the Congress in addition to heavyweights such as Haroon Yusuf, Asif Mohammad Iqbal and Mateen Ahmed, who are believed to garner votes on the basis of individual charisma as well as local issues.

In the previous Assembly polls, Iqbal had contested and won the Matia Mahal constituency at the end of a tight contest with the Congress' Mirza Javed Ali, who came in a close second due to a deficit of around 3,000 votes.

He contested the 1993 and 1998 elections on a Janta Dal ticket. In 2003, he fought on a Janta Dal(S) ticket and in 2008 moved over to Lok Jan Shakti Party. In 2013, he contested on a JD(U) ticket.

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