Tariq Anwar quits NCP

New Delh: Veteran politician Tariq Anwar on Friday resigned from Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and as party’s Member of Parliament (MP) from Katihar constituency in Bihar, in protest against the party leadership’s support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the controversial Rafale deal.

Anwar, who was a close associate of Pawar, was apparently hurt by his leadership’s stance on the controversy. He had expected a strong stand by the party demanding investigation into the whole deal.

Besides being hurt, Anwar termed Pawar’s statement as “unfortunate”. He told the media that he completely “disagreed” with the leadership. “After mulling over the whole issue, I decided to quit the party as well as Parliament member. I am going to Delhi and will discuss the issue with others,” he said.

Pawar had reportedly told a Marathi television channel recently that “people do not have doubts” over Modi’s intention. This statement was widely propagated by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) including party president Amit Shah, stressing on the point that the party has support in the Opposition also over the deal.

It is learnt that Anwar is playing safe with 2019 Lok Sabha polls coming close. Sources say that he is positioning himself because Pawar’s statement may cause trouble for him amongst supporters in his constituency, hence, he wishes to maintain distance from it. Anwar has always contested from Katihar constituency.

The veteran politician quit Congress in 1999 along with Pawar and former Speaker PA Sangma, who passed away in 2016, over Sonia Gandhi’s appointment as the party president despite her foreign origin. Anwar joined politics as a student leader and remained with the Congress until NCP was formed. He is a well known politician from Bihar.

Anwar was close to Sanjay Gandhi and Sitaram Kesri. He was also the Indian Youth Congress (IYC) president in the 1980s. He is considered as the only Muslim leader with substance after Ghulam Nabi Azad to have been given the responsibility of IYC chief.