New Delhi :
In the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Congress president Rahul Gandhi will have a challenge from man whose family has been a loyalist to the party for generations. Haji Haroon Rasheed - whose father Haji Sultan Khan had signed as the proposer on the nomination forms of Rajiv Gandhi in the 1991 parliamentary elections and Sonia Gandhi in 1999 – has announced that he will contest against the party president from Amethi constituency.
“We felt ‘completely sidelined’ in the Congress. And now the entire community is feeling neglected due to the local leadership here," he told IANS.
"The local leadership of the Congress has been neglecting us for long time. And due to this, the development of the area as well as the community... both were hampered," Rasheed said when asked about the reason for contesting against Gandhi.
"My father has worked with Maulana Azad, Panditji (Jawaharlal Nehru), Indiraji and Rajivji. There had never been any lure for power or post. I too have been associated with the party," Rashid said.
On how they will prevail against the Congress in Amethi, Rasheed said: "There are about 6.5 lakh Muslim voters in the constituency and we all will vote against Congress."
He, however, did not disclose from which party he would contest the poll from the high-profile constituency.
Union Minister Smriti Irani will also contest for the Amethi Lok Sabha seat as a BJP candidate. She had contested against Rahul Gandhi in 2014 and polled over three lakh votes against 4.07 lakh votes of Rahul Gandhi.
Amethi is scheduled to go to polls on May 6. The counting of votes will take place on May 23.