Patna: Bihar BJP on Saturday washed its hands of former JD(U) Rajya Sabha member Sabir Ali’s induction in the party in Delhi on Friday. After fielding him from Sheohar, the JD(U) had expelled Sabir from the party after his praise of BJP’s PM pick Narendra Modi.
As the TV grab showed, Sabir joined the BJP in the presence of BJP national general secretary and in charge of Bihar affairs Dharmendra Pradhan and party spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi. However, in less than 24 hours, the party’s chief media in charge and Rajya Sabha member Ravi Shankar Prasad announced the cancellation of Sabir’s BJP membership.
Sabir was accused of alleged proximity or link to Yasin Bhatkal — former chief of terror outfit Indian Mujahideen — whose India members and Pakistani operatives have been picked up from various parts of the country by National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the last couple of days. They include present IM chief Tehsin Akhtar, a Bihar resident with alleged political links.
State BJP sources on Saturday maintained that the party’s state leadership had no role in Sabir’s induction in the party. According to them, around four days ago, he had called on Narendra Modi who, in turn, referred him to BJP national president Rajnath Singh. The process culminated in Sabir securing the BJP membership.
Indeed, so confusing had been the scene at the state BJP headquarters that even state BJP chief Mangal Pandey volunteered to speak on the matter only after he was confirmed that the party leadership had withdrawn Sabir’s BJP membership.
Pandey said, “The party’s central leadership took the final decision on Sabir after assessing all facts. Whatever happened was at the central leadership level.”
Asked if Sabir joining the BJP and cancelling his membership sent a ‘negative message’, Pandey said: “Whatever happened, including his de-induction from the party, has come out in public domain. People of the state have come to know about it.”
Curiously, in his address to Gaya public meeting on March 27, Narendra Modi had drawn popular attention to the need to nip in the bud terror activities. Later, the Bihar BJP leaders, including Pandey and leader of opposition in the state assembly Nand Kishore Yadav, had taunted CM Nitish Kumar for revealing the next name of JD(U) leader who, in the past, had been alleged to have terror links.
Given the backdrop, a couple of state BJP leaders, including former minister Chandra Mohan Rai and Harendra Pratap (MLC), among others, pointed to the negative impact of Sabir on the party, and “real downgrading of the BJP’s popularity graph in the state”.
State BJP spokesman Prem Ranjan Patel (MLA) said, “Yes, there was palpable anger, both among people and party workers, but the wrong done to the party by Sabir has been rectified.”