The bars of the prison have not dampened the political aspirations of extradited gangster Abu Salem and he now has a political banner set up by his lawyer under which he can contest the coming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in his hometown Mubarakpur.
Salem's counsel Ashok Sarogi told PTI on Thursday that he had formed Rashtriya Samajwadi Party through which his client could contest the UP state elections in 2007.
"We had applied (Election Commission) to form the party in August this year and we have just received approval for the same. The party will provide a fresh outlook for people who are tired of existing parties," Sarogi said.
Satyendra Singh Yadav, a small-time Bollywood actor, has been chosen as the president of the party while he would be its general secretary, Sarogi said.
The party, which has an "undisclosed number of members", will have the motorcycle as its symbol and it will get its first taste of electoral politics during the upcoming civic polls in the city for which it intends to field candidates.
The party also intends to contest at least 20 seats in UP Assembly elections including Salem's hometown of Mubarakpur.
"The main agenda of the party will to be to oppose the high handedness of the police and expose corruption. Also, a major point we will take up during the UP polls is non-payment of dues to embroidery workers who are at present working in units in Mubarakpur," Sarogi said.
And Salem's response to the creation of the new party? "He is content with the formation of the party and is looking forward to contesting the elections next year. He has not yet taken membership of the party but is expected to contest under this political banner," Sarogi said.
Undergoing trial now, Salem had expressed a desire to contest the UP Assembly elections in 2007 and was said to be in talks with various political parties for an alliance.
Salem was extradited from Portugal in November 2005 along with his girlfriend and small-time Bollywood actress Monica Bedi for his alleged involvement in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case among other cases.
Salem, who was allegedly involved in extorting money from the film industry in Mumbai, is also accused of being involved in the murder of Ajit Dewani, former secretary to actor Manisha Koirala.