Ex-BJP, ex-SP leaders join Cong

Ex-BJP, ex-SP leaders join Cong

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia with Bahraich MP Savitri Bai Phule and former Fatehpur's MP Rakesh Sachan in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

Former BJP leader and prominent Scheduled Caste MP Savitribai Phule and ex-SP leader Rakesh Sachan on Saturday joined the Congress, giving a boost to its 'Mission Uttar Pradesh' helmed by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Jyotiraditya Scindia.

Phule, 38, represents Bahraich Lok Sabha seat in western Uttar Pradesh, while Sachan is a former Lok Sabha member from Fatehpur in the eastern part of the state.

The two leaders were welcomed into the Congress by party president Rahul Gandhi in the presence of Priyanka and Jyotiraditya.

A fiery orator, Phule had earlier been associated with the BSP but was suspended by BSP supremo Mayawati in 2000. She joined the BJP later and contested the Assembly elections in 2002, 2007 and 2012. She managed to win the 2012 elections and later the 2014 Lok Sabha election.

She fell out with the saffron party after the Supreme Court struck down the stringent provisions of the Atrocities Act in a judgement on March 20 last year that had triggered large-scale protests.

Phule quit the BJP in December but had announced that she would continue to serve as a member of the Lok Sabha.

Sachan is a prominent leader of the Kurmi community and fell foul with the SP leadership after it decided to join hands with arch-rival BSP.

A two-term MLA, Sachan had won the 2009 Lok Sabha poll from Fatehpur, but lost the seat in the 2014 Modi wave that swept the state.

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