ON May 29, Congress leaders Pawan Khera and Nagma took to Twitter to voice their grievances on social media platforms after they were overlooked for the Rajya Sabha seat in favour of Imran Pratapgarhi and Randeep Surjewala amongst others. The reaction came after Congress Party released a list of its ten candidates from seven states for the biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha.
In a cryptic tweet, Pawan Khera wrote in Hindi, “My penance must have lacked somewhere”.
Nagma, on the other hand, was blunt in expressing her dismay. She said, “My 18 years’ worth of penance also fell short in front of Imran Bhai.”
In a follow-up tweet, she alleged then-Congress President Sonia Gandhi had personally committed her Rajya Sabha seat in 2003-2004. She said, “Sonia Ji, our Congress president, had personally committed to accommodating me in RS in 2003/04 when I joined Congress party on her behest we weren’t in power then. Since then, it’s been 18 years since they didn’t find an opportunity. Mr Imran is accommodated in RS from Maharashtra. I ask, am I less deserving?”
In place of Khera, who was one of the contenders for the seat from Rajasthan, Congress chose Randeep Singh Surjewala, Mukul Wasnik and Pramod Tiwari. Surjewala, who contested 2019 Haryana state assembly elections, lost his Kathial seat to BJP candidate. Prior to that, he faced an embarrassing defeat in 2019 bypolls after losing the Jind seat. Subsequently Congress workers created ruckus and blamed the EVMs. Now, Surjewala, who has not been able to win any recent elections has been nominated to Rajya Sabha by Congress.
Who is Imran Pratapgarhi?
Congress leader Mohammad Imran Khan aka Imran Pratapgarhi is the National Chairman of the Minority Cell of Congress. Notably, when he was given the post of National Chairman of the Minority Cell, it had reportedly generated unease in the party, with many senior leaders expressing concern. Most were of the opinion that Patrapgarhi’s popularity should rather have been used in campaigning and that an experienced hand was required to head the organisation.
Pratapgarhi is best known for his hate-filled Shayari that he often recites during campaigning for the Congress Party. In 2019 he was seen exhorting Muslims to kill at least 4-6 people to avenge the death of their people. He incited his Muslim followers, saying that “It is not acceptable to die in a cowardly manner. To avenge lynching, kill at least 4 to 6 people before you die.”
In another video, he is seen encouraging young children to chant, “Jo Hitler ki chaal chalega, woh Hitler ki maut marega”, one of the ‘Azadi’ slogans, which had become a regular feature during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Pratapgarhi had joined the Congress in 2019 and unsuccessfully contested the parliamentary elections from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. He had lost the seat to ST Hasan of the Samajwadi Party. He reportedly became a Priyanka Gandhi Vadra favourite once she started paying attention to Uttar Pradesh, Pratapgarhi’s home state.