New Delhi, March 29: In a repeat of the Pramod Muthalik case, the BJP Saturday cancelled the membership of expelled Janata Dal-United member Sabir Ali following protests in the party over his alleged terror links.
“The membership of Sabir Ali stands annulled,” party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said, adding that Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh took the decision after holding discussions with party leaders and workers.
He also said the party disapproved of public airing of protest against party decisions.
Ali joined the BJP amid fanfare at an event in the capital Friday. The membership was annulled following open protest by senior party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
“Terrorist Bhatkal friend join BJP…soon accepting Dawood…” Naqvi had tweeted Friday, triggering a furore. He deleted the tweet later. He told television news channels that the party high command was aware of his dissent to Ali joining the BJP.
“Our fight is against terrorism and anyone who is involved in any terrorist activity should not become part of the BJP. It will lead to problems in the future,” he said.
There were allegations on social media that Indian Mujahideen co-founder Yaseen Bhatkal was arrested from Sabir Ali’s house. However, police or the home ministry have not given any such information.
On Saturday, Ali maintained he was innocent and said he would quit politics if his involvement with the terror outfit is proved. He also said he will file a defamation case against Naqvi.
He said the BJP can set up a committee and investigate the allegations against him.
Ali was recently expelled from the JD-U by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Prasad said Ali had written to the party’s Bihar in-charge that his membership be put on hold in the light of allegations against him. But Rajnath Singh decided to annul his membership, he said.
Prasad also said the party chief had taken “a very serious view” of the manner in which party leaders had aired their views publicly on party decisions.
“Any comment on party decisions should be made in party forums,” he said, adding that the controversy did not signify any disunity in the party. “There could be two opinions on the entry of a particular person but the party is fully united and speaking in one voice,” he said.
Protest against Ali’s entry came not just from the BJP, but also its mentor, the Rashtriya Swamyamsewak Sangh (RSS). Ali was one of the seven MPs to be suspended from the Rajya Sabha during the winter session for creating a ruckus during debate on the women’s reservation bill.
RSS leader Ram Madhav tweeted his disapproval over Ali’s induction, posting: “Sabir Ali induction has caused great resentment. Party leadership has been apprised of d strong views of d cadre n people agnst it.”
The entry and exit of Ali comes days after a similar show during the induction of Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik, who was forced to leave the party within hours of his entry following protests.
Muthalik was arrested five years ago after activists of his party assaulted women at a Mangalore pub. The women were dragged by their hair, slapped and manhandled by Muthalik’s activists, who accused them of “loose morals”.