The Telegraph
Saturday , March 29 , 2014
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Face-off in BJP over new minority face

Patna, March 28: The BJP got another face from the minorities in the state as expelled JD(U) leader Sabir Ali joined the party on Friday.

Till a few months ago, Sabir could be seen on television screens attacking Narendra Modi and the BJP for indulging in “communal politics”. But on Friday, he not only heaped praise on the party and its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, but also threatened to expose the “so-called secular parties”.

Talking to The Telegraph from New Delhi, Sabir said: “I decided to join the BJP after thinking a lot, consulting with my supporters and even visiting Gujarat to find out the socio-economic condition of minorities in Gujarat.”

He said “so-called secular parties” such as the JD(U), the RJD and even the Congress had always treated minorities like a votebank, creating fear and confusion in their minds about the BJP, but he would now expose such parties. “It is high time the minorities too taste the BJP,” Sabir said.

Four days ago, Sabir, the outgoing Rajya Sabha MP, was expelled from the JD(U) for praising Narendra Modi. Following his expulsion, announced by JD(U) general secretary K.C. Tyagi in New Delhi, Sabir’s supporters had vandalised the Dal office in Delhi, pulling down billboards of chief minister Nitish Kumar.

At a function held at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, Sabir joined the party in the presence of Bihar BJP in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan and Sudhanshu Trivedi, the national spokesperson and political adviser to party president Rajnath Singh.

The JD(U), after refusing to renominate Sabir to the Rajya Sabha in January, had announced his candidature from Sheohar Lok Sabha constituency, the seat presently held by the BJP’s Rama Devi.

But Sabir was in no mood to contest the Lok Sabha election. He said: “After the party refused to renominate me to the Rajya Sabha, I decided to leave the party. For the past two months, I travelled across Gujarat and met minorities. The picture of minorities in Gujarat is not the same as depicted by the so-called secular parties.”

Sabir, who was a Rajya Sabha member of the LJP, had joined the JD(U) three years ago on the assurance he would be renominated.