Cong says he is welcome to return
PTI, KATIHAR/PATNA/NEW DELHI: Nationalist Congress Party's founding member Tariq Anwar Friday quit the party and announced he is giving up his Lok Sabha membership, saying he left aggrieved by the party's national president Sharad Pawar's "clean chit" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rafale deal.
Amid speculation about the veteran Bihar leader's next move ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress said Anwar was "welcome" to return to the party from where he started his political career.
Anwar was the Bihar Congress president in the 1980s and had represented his current parliamentary constituency Katihar as a Congress MP for times, before he joined hands with Pawar and deceased Meghalaya leader P A Sangma to form the Nationalist Congress Party in 1999.
The NCP later allied with the Congress and Anwar served as a Union minister in the UPA-II government.
The announcement, made by Anwar in his parliamentary constituency, is seen as a politically significant development for possible alignments in Bihar, where Congress, NCP and RJD have been part of the 'grand alliance or Mahagathbandhan' against the BJP and its allies.
The Mahagathbandhan camp leaders lauded Anwar's decision, with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) urging Pawar to review his stand on the issue.
The JD(U), headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and an ally of the
BJP, termed Anwar's move opportunistic and aimed at "greener pastures".