New Delhi: As the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election is inching closer, the internal rift in Congress over the introduction of close kin of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav as the party candidate from the crucial Sikandarabad seat seems far from over.

The replacement of former Youth Congress President from Bulandshahar, Nizam Malik who was nominated to contest elections from Sikandarabad seat by Lalu’s relative Jitendra Yadav has triggered fresh controversies among a section of Youth Congress men in the state.

Adding to the resentment, UP Congress Committee (UPCC) chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi has come out with strong objection over the entire episode.

Notably, Malik was declared as the party candidate from the Sikandarabad seat last month. Even before he could start his poll campaign from the crucial seat, the party replaced him with Jitendra Yadav, whose son married the fourth daughter of the RJD chief on January 28.

According to the sources, Joshi has written to the party general secretary Rahul Gandhi and expressed severe opposition over the new entry and the name of Youth Congress leader being dropped.

Observing the negative outcome of the exit, Joshi is learnt to have requested the party leadership to reconsider its decision and renominate him as party candidate from Sikandrabad.

Highlighting that Malik belongs to the Teli Muslim community in western Uttar Pradesh, Joshi has pointed out that withdrawal of his candidature can lead to significant setbacks as far as crucial Muslim vote bank is considered.

Notably, this community has a sizeable presence in about 21 Assembly constituencies.

While, the arch rival Samajwadi Party has given tickets to four members of the Teli Muslim community, the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party has given tickets to two from this community.

In is noteworthy, the decision attracted huge criticism from a section of party’s youth leaders who had staged hunger strike outside the party.

JPN/Bureau