BJP In-house Battle Grows as 'Outsiders' Make Inroads
The induction of Bihar turncoat Sabir Ali kicked up a furore in the BJP, exposing the fault lines in the top leadership. Such was the harshness of reaction that an unnerved Ali-a former JD(U) leader and Rajya Sabha member-offered to keep his induction into BJP in abeyance.
He said till an enquiry cleared his name of the allegation that he sheltered Indian Mujahideen’s Yasin Bhatkal in his house, he would remain outside. But that was not enough.
A series of similar “dubious entries” had already brought a section of the BJP’s old-guard to boiling point, with the Ali induction the internal strife showed up again and got mixed up with the legitimate struggle for political space.
Sources said Shahnawaz Husain, BJP’s minority face in Bihar for many years, so much so that he was made a young member of the Vajpayee Cabinet, was none too happy with his fiefdom being bartered to opportunistic camp-switchers. Nor was Naqvi.
Known for his organisational skills, Naqvi was handpicked by Narendra Modi and pushed to prominence when the latter came to be projected as the party’s prime ministerial candidate. He used his current clout within the Sangh to strike back and it had immediate rippling effect. What Sushma Swaraj’s tweet opposing B Sriramulu’s re-entry into the BJP’s Karnataka unit could not achieve, Naqvi’s sharp tweet on Ali managed to achieve, a senior BJP leader pointed out.
As the BJP top honchos scurried for cover, its Bihar state unit did a double take and the RSS read the riot act. The Sangh got its spokesperson Ram Madhav to issue a statement backing Naqvi’s position, after which BJP had little option but to repeat the Pramod Muthalik episode. Sabir Ali was shown the out gate within hours of entry into the house. So by Saturday afternoon, the BJP’s newly appointed media in-charge for the 2014 election Ravi Shankar Prasad read out a terse two-line message from his party president Rajnath Singh stating: Ali’ s “membership has been annulled”.
“BJP chief has also asked the party leaders to express their opinions within the party forums and not outside,” Prasad added. Ironically, Prasad announced Ali’s exit note from the same platform from where he with hundreds of his supporters joined the BJP, just a day ago.