Upset over being left out of the newly constituted executive panel of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC), the lone Muslim MLA in the state assembly, Arif Aqueel, has offered to resign from the party.
The vice-president of the outgoing PCC executive has set a deadline till Monday evening to the party’s central leadership to include him into the 193-member committee, failing which he would put in his papers.
According to sources in the Congress, an angry Aqueel called up Congress legislative party (CLP) leader Satyadev Katare on Saturday afternoon and offered to resign from the party.
“He told Katare that despite being the lone Muslim MLA from the party, if he could not find (a) place in 193-member executive…then it is only appropriate for him to resign from the party,” said a Congress leader, privy to the talks between Katare and Aqueel.
He said that Katare has asked Aqueel not to take any decision in haste and let him talk to senior leaders in Delhi.
The CLP leader is reported to have spoken to some senior party leaders in Delhi, including the office of party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi. He has been advised by the top leaders to take care of the issue in a manner so that the party’s image is not damaged.
“Since Aqueel was adamant, Katare asked him to wait till Monday evening. He would himself go to Delhi on Monday to attend a meeting of CLP leaders from all over the country and is likely to take up the issue with party leadership then,” the Congress party told HT, without wishing to be named.
Dropping Aqueel from the PCC executive, a five-time MLA from Bhopal (north), the only seat among seven assembly seats of Bhopal where Congress has its MLA, had come as a surprise to many and Saturday’s developments does not augur well for a party, which has failed to take on the chief minister and the BJP in the civic body polls despite their sagging image.
Katare, when contacted, refused to comment saying it was a party affair and would be settled there. On the other hand, Aqueel did not pick up his phone despite repeated attempts to contact him.