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Tariq Anwar quits NCP, cites party boss Sharad Pawar ‘stand’ on Rafale row

Tariq Anwar was a Lok Sabha member from Katihar in Bihar and a prominent face of the party in Bihar.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2018 17:52 IST
Arun Kumar
Arun Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Tariq Anwar,NCP,Lok Sabha
NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar at a press conference in Patna.(HT FIle Photo)

Nationalist Congress Party leader Tariq Anwar resigned from the Lok Sabha and his party on Friday, citing his party chief Sharad Pawar’s reported stand on the Rafale fight aircraft deal with France.

Anwar, who was the NCP’s only Lok Sabha member in Bihar, said that he was upset with Sharad Pawar’s statement on the deal at a time when the entire opposition had united to demand a probe into the deal.

In a recent interview to a Marathi news channel, the former Union minister was reported to have said that the Opposition’s demand to share technical details relating to the fighter jets “made no sense”. A PTI report had also quoted Pawar saying that he didn’t think that people have doubts about Modi’s intentions in the Rafale deal.

Anwar, one the founding members of the NCP, said he couldn’t continue in the party under these circumstances.

“The way the deal has been struck with France’s Dassault company, it seems the entire exercise has been done to benefit one individual. It is a serious issue as it relates to national security. A public perception has already built over Rafale that there is something fishy and Pawar’s statement appeared to be in support of Modi. So, I decided to quit, as I could not continue under the prevailing circumstances,” he added.

Anwar, a five-term Lok Sabha MP and two-term Rajya Sabha MP, said it was for the government to come out clean in light of former French President Francois Hollande’s recent statement that Reliance was made part of the deal at India’s insistence.

India, France, and Dassault have all denied Hollande’s claim.

Anwar said he hadn’t decided on his next step. But there has been speculation for some time that the senior NCP leader had been looking for an opportunity to head back to the Congress, the party that he had quit along with Sharad Pawar.

“I have not decided on future course. I will talk to my people and then take a decision. With Pawarji backing Modi, it became a party line and there was no way I could align with it,” he added.

He was the Bihar Congress acting president, All India Congress Committee (AICC) member, Congress Working Committee (CWC) member, Congress Seva Dal chief and advisor to the party chief before moving away from it.

First Published: Sep 28, 2018 12:50 IST