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BJP annuls Sabir Ali's membership post dissent

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Story Dated: Saturday, March 29, 2014 11:50 hrs UTC

Amid growing dissidence over Sabir Ali's induction into its ranks, the BJP on Saturday cancelled the membership of the expelled JD(U) leader.

Addressing a press conference, BJP's deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said that party president Rajnath Singh has decided to annul Ali's one-day-old membership.

He also announced passing a resolution that directs BJP members to discuss matters related to induction in internal forums only.

Senior BJP leaders were unhappy with senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for expressing his dissent regarding Ali's induction on social media.

Sabir Ali had earlier urged the Bihar BJP unit to put his membership on hold. The Rajya Sabha MP had also offered to quit politics forever if it was proved that he has any connection with terrorist Yasin Bhatkal as alleged by Naqvi.

"I have written a letter to Dharmendra Pradhan to keep my membership on hold. I have also asked him to form a committee in this regard and enquire into my case on the basis of these allegations. If they find these allegations true even distantly, I will quit politics forever," Ali had told reporters here.

Ali, who had hopped from LJP to RJD and to JD(U) from which he was expelled for his remarks praising Narendra Modi, challenged Naqvi to prove the allegations, saying he has not even seen Bhaktal in his dreams, but came to know only through newspapers.

"I am asking if he has the guts to prove? If not he should quit politics. I am ready to do," he said.

On Friday, BJP leader Naqvi, while referring to Sabir Ali, had tweeted: "Terrorist Bhatakal friend join BJP...soon accepting Dawood...". Naqvi has deleted the controversial tweet.

There have been allegations on social media that Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yaseen Bhatkal was arrested from Sabir Ali's house. Police or the Home Ministry have, however, not given any such information officially.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Saturday backed Naqvi's dissent. Taking to microblogging website Twitter, RSS leader Ram Madhav on Saturday tweeted:
Senior BJP leader Balbir Punj had also demanded the reversal of the decision to induct Sabir Ali in the party.

Criticising the decision to induct Ali, Punj said, "There was no reason to induct a man, who in the past has been tainted with serious charges of terrorism".

"The perception about his past does not gel at all with the culture of BJP," he said.

This is the second instance of the BJP cutting a sorry face after it inducted a controversial right-wing activist and Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik by the Karnataka unit which threw him out within hours after strong criticism from both within and outside the party.

Muthalik's Sene activists were involved in attack on women in pubs in Mangalore a few years ago after which he was also jailed. Now he has taken a vow to avenge his humiliation at the hands of BJP in the current elections.

Naqvi said the party has been fighting against terrorism and has been touting as being "different", how can it justify the entry of someone who has links with terrorists.

He had alleged that Bhatkal was arrested from Ali's Mumbai residence some time ago, even as his name had figured in the murder case of noted music magnate Gulshan Kumar.

BJP spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi had said the induction was done on the recommendation of Bihar unit of the party and "further action" in the matter will be taken after "verifying all facts and antecedents" of Ali.

JD(U) had expelled Ali, once a confidant of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, for praising Modi.

The party had earlier declined to renominate Ali and two other MPs, including NK Singh who also later joined BJP, to the Rajya Sabha after their term ends next month.

Ali was JD(U)'s candidate from Sheohar constituency for Lok Sabha elections before the party withdrew his candidature following his praise for Modi.

Ali, who was earlier in Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP before joining Kumar, said he had seen so called secular parties from close quarters due to his association with them and there is a difference between what they preach and what they practise.


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