The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday said it annulled the membership of controversial Bihar politician Sabir Ali after revolt from within, in what is the second such embarrassment for the party in less than a week. Senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday stirred a debate in the party by expressing his dissent against the BJP admitting the expelled JD-U leader in its ranks. "Terrorist Bhatakal friend joins BJP...soon accepting Dawood..." Naqvi tweeted.
“BJP president Rajnath Singh decided that the membership of Sabir Ali stands annulled,” party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Saturday. Rajnath Singh also sent out a strong message to the party’s office bearers and leaders, asking them to not air their views outside the party platform. “Singh has asked party men to air their views at the party forum only,” Prasad added.
The announcement came within hours of Ali writing to BJP general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan — the party in-charge in Bihar— asking that his membership be kept on hold in view of the allegations levelled against him.
Read: BJP annuls membership of Sabir Ali, he says will file case against Naqvi
Later talking to PTI, Ali on Saturday said he would file a defamation case against BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and challenged him for a debate.
Claiming he had a much larger support base than Naqvi, Ali said he was ready to go to any village in the country -- even Naqvi's--to prove that more Muslims or people will stand behind him than the BJP leader.
"I will file a defamation case against Naqvi. I am also ready to sit with him for a debate," Ali told PTI. "I am ready to go to his (Naqvi's) village or even any
village in the country. One would see how many people stand by him. I have people's support. He (Naqvi) is fearing loss of support," Ali said when asked why Naqvi was against him.
Last Sunday, the party did a u-turn on the induction of Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik after firm objections from some of its senior leaders.
Read: RSS resents, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi protests Sabir Ali joining BJP
Similar developments took place since Friday evening when senior leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi voiced strong opposition to the induction of Ali, who was previously with Bihar's JD(U) until he got booted out for praising BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi.
Other party leaders like Vinay Katiyar and Yoga guru Baba Ramdev too signalled their disagreement over Ali's joining BJP.
"Terrorist Bhatkal friend join BJP... soon accepting Dawood," Naqvi, the party's vice-president and prominent Muslim face, tweeted on Friday evening.
Naqvi is the second senior leader of the BJP who took to Twitter to vent his anger at the party high command. Sushma Swaraj was the first to go public on the social networking site with her disagreement over the joining of controversial Karnataka leader B Sriramulu.
Naqvi justified his stand by saying top Indian Mujahideen operative Yasin Bhatkal had been arrested from Ali's Mumbai residence some time ago, adding that party chief Rajnath Singh may not have known this. "If the party can oust a Hindutva leader (Pramod Muthalik) within hours, how can we tolerate someone with terrorist links?" he asked.
Ali, who has been criticizing Modi on TV, had a change of heart after Nitish Kumar denied him a re-nomination in the Rajya Sabha and fielded him from Seohar Lok Sabha seat.
Ali was acquitted in the murder of cassette king Gulshan Kumar's murder.
Read: Expelled JD(U) MP Sabir Ali joins BJP
(With PTI inputs)