Nearly two decades after he left the Congress, along with Sharad Pawar and P A Sangma after protesting against Sonia Gandhi’s rise in the party hierarchy, Lok Sabha MP Tariq Anwar on Saturday met Congress president Rahul Gandhi and rejoined the party.
Both the Congress and Anwar appealed all other leaders who had left the party in the past to return and strengthen its fight against “communal forces”.
Justifying his decision to rejoin the Congress, Anwar said the country is going through a difficult phase and the need of the hour is to strengthen the grand old party. “Only the Congress can be the alternative,” he asserted.
Anwar had quit the NCP, which he had floated along with Pawar and Sangma in 1999, on September 29 in protest against what he called Pawar’s “defence” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale fighter jet deal. Anwar had also announced his resignation as MP of Katihar constituency in Bihar the same day.
The NCP has denied that Pawar had given a clean chit to Modi on the Rafale deal.
Interacting with the media at the Congress office on Saturday, Anwar said, “The time has come – all those who had left the Congress at different points in time…should forget everything and return to the Congress…because we need to strongly challenge the communal forces which are damaging harmony and amity in the country.”
Welcoming Anwar into the party, Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot also made a similar appeal: “Sometimes there is resentment and anger in politics…. I appeal to all those who had left the party to return, given the situation in the country.”
Gehlot indicated that more leaders may join the Congress in the coming days. “Anybody who wants to come back with or without conditions — Tariq Anwar has rejoined without any condition — I will welcome them all.”
Party general secretary Congress’s Bihar in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil claimed that there is “going to be a disaster” in the BJP-led NDA”, as “more people will come with us” in the coming day. Gohil was referring to reports of unrest in NDA partners RLSP and LJP, led, respectively by Union ministers Upendra Kushwaha and Ramvilas Paswan, over seat share in next year’s Lok Sabha polls.