Former SP MP Verma joins Congress, says SP strayed from socialist ideals

Former SP MP Verma joins Congress, says SP strayed from socialist ideals

A four-time MP from the Samajwadi Party (SP) and a leading representative of the Kurmi community, an OBC group,  Ravi Prakash Verma on Monday joined the Congress party in Lucknow, days after quitting the SP.

He was formally inducted into the grand-old-party by U.P. Congress president Ajay Rai. This may further complicate already strained ties between the SP and Congress, both partners in the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc, following failed seat-sharing talks for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls.

Mr. Verma, 63, joined the grand-old-party along with his daughter Purvi Verma, 33, who contested the 2019 parliamentary polls from the Kheri constituency on the SP symbol and lost to Ajay Mishra Teni of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by over two lakh votes. Mr. Verma, won the seat thrice, in the 1998, 1999 and 2004, parliamentary polls and was a Rajya Sabha member from 2014-2020. Both Mr. Verma and his daughter allege that the SP has deviated from the principles of socialism and for ordinary workers it is difficult to work in such a ecosystem. “The SP has deviated from the principle of socialism. The capitalist system dominates there. He said that by working hard we all have taken the cycle track to every corner of the state but now it is becoming difficult to work in the SP,” said Mr. Verma.

The SP has sought to know from the Congress what message it wants to send. “Leaving a 35 percent voter base party like the SP, and joining the Congress what is the logic. Mr. Verma lost the Lok Sabha poll, Purvi Verma also lost despite a SP-BSP alliance in 2019, what is the message Congress is trying to send, only they know,” said Udaiveer Singh, a senior SP leader and former MLC.

Mr. Verma hails from a prominent political family. His father Balgovind Verma, also served as a parliamentarian from Lakhimpur Kheri and was a minister in the Indira Gandhi Cabinet. Mr. Verma, after winning there thrice, lost twice and come fourth in 2014 polls.

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