Former Congress MLA from Kerala, AP Abdullakutty, joined the BJP in New Delhi Wednesday in the presence of party working president JP Nadda, Union MoS V Muraleedharan and Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar. He had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday in Parliament House.
“You could describe me as a national Muslim. It was Narendra Modi’s development initiatives that propelled me to join the BJP. As a Muslim, patriotism is a part of my faith. There is a need to create mental unity between Muslims and BJP governments in southern India. That’s what I intend to do,” he told reporters in Delhi.
Abdullakutty, who represented Kannur in the state Assembly between 2009 and 2016 as a Congress MLA, was expelled from the party in May this year after he praised PM Modi’s development policies in a Facebook post. He had described some of the BJP’s development schemes like the Ujjwala Yojana as inculcating Gandhian values. The Facebook post, that came a few days after the Congress suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the BJP in the general elections, also pointed to growing differences between Abdullakutty and the local leadership of the party. In 2016 Assembly elections, he had contested unsuccessfully as a Congress candidate from Thalassery.
The senior Muslim leader had joined the Congress in 2009 after he was similarly shown the door by the CPM leadership following his praise of the Gujarat model of development when Modi was the chief minister of the state. Abdullakutty twice served as MP of the CPM from Kannur between 1999 and 2009.
“CPM and Congress expelled me for supporting Narendra Modi’s development projects. Through Modi’s development policies, India will become a superpower. India’s minorities are safe in the hands of Modi,” he said.
While it is not clear if Abdullakutty will operate out of Delhi or Kerala, his is the most prominent induction of a Muslim leader into the BJP in the southern state. There are reports that he may be offered a ticket in the upcoming bye-election in Manjeswaram in Kasaragod district, a constituency the BJP lost in 2016 by a tiny margin. The seat has a sizable section of both Hindu and Muslim votes.
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