Malegaon MLA Mufti Mohammad Ismail joined the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Friday. The MLA, a Muslim cleric, heads Teesri Mahaj, a local political body that emerged after the Malegaon blasts in 2006.
Ismail gained popularity after the blast, as he had played an important role in maintaining peace in the area. There was widespread outrage among the community as Muslim youngsters from Malegaon were allegedly falsely implicated in the case.
The Teesri Mahaj or Third Front, formed ahead of the local civic body election in 2007, came to power in the corporation riding on the anti-Congress and anti-NCP wave.
Mufti fought the 2009 Assembly election on the ticket of Jansurajya Shakti Party by defeating sitting Congress candidate Shaikh Rashid.
While joining the NCP, the MLA said, “Our anger against the ruling parties has not disappeared. The youngsters who were falsely implicated are expected to get justice after the NIA submits its fresh reports. I have joined the party only after we received assurances of welfare of the community.