Rajya Sabha MP Sabir Ali rejoined the BJP on Thursday, just two days before the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bihar. Ali, who had joined BJP in March 2014, was suspended soon after due to internal protests in BJP, especially from senior party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
On Thursday, after he joined the BJP, Ali described his new party as a “much maligned” one which had been “unnecessarily targeted with a communal tag”.
“Some people have been targeting BJP unnecessarily with a communal tag. It has been a progressive and inclusive party,” he said.
The timing of the move, just before the visit of PM Modi to Bihar, is being seen as the party’s bid to win over Muslims ahead of the assembly polls in the state. The BJP has only one Muslim MLA in the state — from Purnia. Former MP Syed Shahnawaz Hussain is the only prominent minority face in BJP ranks in Bihar. Ali, an East Champaran leader, who otherwise does not have a mass base, is likely to be of symbolic value for BJP in an election where a grand alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress have been hoping to get consolidated Muslim votes.
Meanwhile, Ali has withdrawn the defamation case against Naqvi, who had accused him of some ‘terror connection’ and apologised later saying he and his party have a big heart. Ali had quit JD(U) after being denied renomination to Rajya Sabha and was instead given a Lok Sabha ticket from Sheohar. Ali had praised Narendra Modi and was expelled from JD(U).