A five-time MLA, Shoaib Iqbal was in the Congress before he joined the AAP last week. Interestingly, when in Congress, Shoaib had once said that the only place suitable for Arvind Kejriwal is jail.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi has released its list of all candidates for the February 8 Assembly elections. The party has dropped 15 sitting MLAs and fielded 24 new faces. While some of the party’s picks have taken many by surprise, one individual is sure to raise eyebrows. The party has fielded controversial politician Shoaib Iqbal from the Matia Mahal constituency in Chandni Chowk district.
A five-time MLA, Iqbal was with the Congress previously and unsuccessfully contested elections in 2015, losing to AAP’s Asim Ahmed Khan. He joined the Aam Aadmi Party last week in the presence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The CM welcomed Iqbal saying his entry will strengthen the party and take forward the development agenda of the AAP.
Shoaib is seen as a leader who enjoys tremendous clout in the Matia Mahal constituency and perhaps this was the reason why Kejriwal inducted him into the party. Just after he quit the Congress and joined the AAP, the grand old party lashed out at him and pointed out that Shoaib was questioning Kejriwal’s silence on CAA and NRC, but now joined his party.
Interestingly, when in Congress, Shoaib had once said that the only place suitable for Arvind Kejriwal is jail.
Shoaib contested both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. He was a member of the Delhi Legislative Assembly for five terms between 1993 and 2013.
In 1993 and 1998, he contested as a Janata Dal candidate. In 2003, he contested on a Janata Dal (Secular) ticket. He also served as the deputy Speaker between 2003 and 2008 after winning elections on a Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) ticket.
In 2013, he contested on Janata Dal (United) ticket. In 2015, he contested on a Congress ticket but lost to AAP’s Asim Ahmed Khan.
Shoaib is not new to controversies. His induction into the AAP evoked sharp criticism from the BJP as well. The saffron party accused Kejriwal of practicing the politics of appeasement. Party spokesperson Sambit Patra said Kejriwal was indulging in vote bank politics by giving space to those who “want Sharia law” to be imposed in the country.
According to the BJP, Shoaib’s son, Mohammad Iqbal, used offensive language against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and vehemently defended Sharia law during anti-CAA protests.