A fresh controversy erupted in the Bharatiya Janata Party with senior leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi making an angry outburst against induction of expelled Janata Dal-United leader Sabir Ali whom he called a "friend" of terrorist Yasin Bhatkal and mocked that Dawood Ibrahim could be the next entrant.
Naqvi, a Muslim face and vice president of the party, termed Ali's entry into the BJP as a "mistake" and demanded its reversal. BJP spokesman Sudhanshu Trivedi said the induction was done on the recommendation of Bihar unit of the party and "further action" in the matter will be taken after "verifying all facts and antecedents" of Ali.
"Terrorist Bhatkal friend joins BJP...soon accepting Dawood...," Naqvi tweeted, hours after Ali was inducted into the party with much fanfare as it was seen as a boost to the BJP's attempts to attract Muslims. "Whatever has happened today, I am pained and have already expressed my anguish in the party. Somewhere there has been a mistake committed by the party and the party needs to correct that by reversing the decision," Naqvi said later.
The new row comes days after the one over induction of Sri Ram Sene chief Pramod Muthalik in Karnataka. The entry was scrapped within hours after strong criticism from both within and outside the party as Muthalik had been involved in attack on women in pubs few years back.
Naqvi said the party has been fighting against terrorism and has been touting as being "different", how can it justify the entry of someone who has links with terrorists. He alleged that Bhatkal was arrested from Ali's Mumbai residence some time ago, even as his name had figured in the murder case of noted music magnate Gulshan Kumar.
Asked if the decision was taken after keeping the party's top leadership in the loop, Naqvi felt the party president was not in the knowledge of this. "I have a very strong protest on the issue and will say whatever is in the party's interest at the party forum," he said, questioning how the party can tolerate the entry of such people with alleged terrorist links.
"If the party can oust a Hindustva leader (reference to Muthalik) within hours, how can we tolerate someone with terrorist links"? he added. This is the second instance of a senior BJP leader going public his or her dissent over a party decision in last few days. Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had earlier tweeted opposing the entry of BSR Congress leader B Sreeramalu in Karnataka.
Even after the entry of Sreeramalu, who is linked to the Bellary mining scam accused Reddy brothers, Swaraj had again tweeted that the same has been done despite her opposition. BJP President Rajnath Singh had later said that he does not approve of party leaders going public on party matters.