Minority leaders object to Joshi`s statement

Notwithstanding the UP Congress unit leaving it Sonia Gandhi to choose its chief, intense lobbying has started for the post.

Lucknow: Notwithstanding the UP Congress
unit leaving it Sonia Gandhi to choose its chief, intense
lobbying has started for the post with a section of its
minorities cell leaders writing to her voicing their objection
to a recent statement made by incumbent Rita Bahuguna Joshi.

"There is a sharp reaction over a statement made by
Joshi in a section of media that she had contested the 1998
Lok Sabha elections from Samajwadi Party in order to check
communal forces, especially as it has come at a time when
Muslims are returning to Congress from the Samajwadi Party,"
a senior leader of the Congress` state minorities cell said.

At least two leaders including president of the
Faizabad unit of the minority cell, Haji Mohamad Jama Khan,
and city unit president of the minority cell of Meerut, Firoz
Rana have shot off letters to the party president Sonia Gandhi
for taking cognisance of the statement which they said was
harmful for party`s interest and have urged for taking action
against Joshi, he said, adding "we hope that the party
leadership would take a strict view on it".

Rita Joshi in an interview to a Hindi daily had
stated that she took the offer to contest the 1998 Lok Sabha
elections from Sultanpur by the Samajawadi Party against two-
time sitting BJP MP DB Rai, who was the then Superintendent of
Police of Faizabad when the Babri mosque was demolished in

Joshi had joined the Congress in 1989 and in 1998 she
had quit the party for a while to contest Lok Sabha elections
as SP candidate before returning to the party fold again.

Meanwhile, another faction, which considers Joshi as
the best bet for the party to challenge BSP in the run up to
the assembly elections in 2012, alleged that the campaign was
being carried out against Joshi in collusion with
BSP functionaries to please Chief Minister Mayawati.

"Joshi has had 16 cases registered against her in the
three years of Mayawati rule but she has never softened her
stance towards the BSP government," a party leader close to
the UPCC president said.

"There had been no such simmering in the past and
there is a clear design to malign her before the party high
command decides on nomination of the UPCC president," he
said, adding that the leaders who have written to Gandhi
"are being misled by certain people".