Mumbai Cong leader Baba Siddique, son's rebuttal on joining NCP only fuels buzz | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Mumbai Congress leader Baba Siddique, son's rebuttal on joining NCP only fuels buzz

Feb 02, 2024 06:22 PM IST

The Siddique family’s effusive praise for deputy chief minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar after meeting him has fuelled rumours of their possible exit

MUMBAI: Bandra East lawmaker Zeeshan Siddique on Friday rubbished swirling rumours that he and his father Baba Siddique were on their way out of the Congress, saying he was not leaving the Congress and his recent meeting with deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar had been misconstrued.

Baba Siddique is a three-time MLA and former minister. His son Zeeshan Siddique won his first election in 2019 (Instagram/Zeeshan Siddique)
Baba Siddique is a three-time MLA and former minister. His son Zeeshan Siddique won his first election in 2019 (Instagram/Zeeshan Siddique)

“I am not joining any party. We share family relations with Ajit Dada (Nationalist Congress Party) and it was not unusual for them to meet him,” Zeeshan Siddique said before heading to heap praises on Ajit Pawar. At 31, he is the youngest MLA in the Maharashtra assembly and heads the Mumbai Pradesh Youth Congress.

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“I am like a son to him (Ajit Pawar)… When I was facing injustice, it was he who extended me his support. He is a kind of a leader, who always supports youngsters. He works till midnight but starts his day at 6 in the morning. He is an inspiration,” Zeeshan, a first-time legislator, said.

Speculation that the father-son team could exit the party came a fortnight after the Congress lost Milind Deora, a former Mumbai unit chief of the Congress, to the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena. The setback to the Congress came at a time when the party was struggling to revive its fortunes in the city where it was founded in 1885 and faced a leadership crisis. The Congress does not have any MP in six parliamentary seats and just four legislators in 36 assembly constituencies in the city.

Congress leaders said they were aware that the Siddique family was in talks with the Ajit Pawar-led NCP and could make the move by February 10 and some party leaders were in touch with them to understand their concerns.

Zeeshan said he couldn’t speak for his father, a prominent Muslim face in the Mumbai Congress. “I don’t know about him (Baba Siddique). I am with Congress and have no intention to leave the party,” he said in response to a question about his father. Baba Siddique is a three-term MLA from Vandre West assembly constituency but lost the seat in 2014 and 2019 assembly elections to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Ashish Shelar.

His father separately confirmed the meeting with Ajit Pawar to news agency ANI but denied that he was planning to leave the Congress “as of now”. Who can say about the future, the 66-year-old politician added. Asked about the family’s effusive praise for Ajit Pawar, he said this was because Ajit deserved the praise and recalled, quite like his son did, how the deputy chief minister was a workaholic, started his day at 6-6:30 in the morning and worked late into the night.

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    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.

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