Baba Siddique quits Cong, to join NCP on Feb 10 | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Baba Siddique quits Cong, to join NCP on Feb 10

Feb 09, 2024 06:56 AM IST

His son Zeeshan Siddiqui, currently Congress MLA from Bandra East (official name Vandre East), is also likely to leave the party for Ajit Pawar-led NCP closer to the Lok Sabha polls

Mumbai: Mumbai Congress leader Baba Siddique resigned from the primary membership of the party on Thursday and is set to join the Ajit Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on February 10. His son Zeeshan Siddiqui, currently Congress MLA from Bandra East (official name Vandre East), is also likely to leave the party for Ajit Pawar-led NCP closer to the Lok Sabha polls.

Mumbai, India - Feb. 8, 2024: Mumbai Congress Leader Baba Siddique interact with media after Quits Party and he Join Ajit Pawar’s NCP on 10th Feb in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, February 8, 2024. (Photo by Satish Bate/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Mumbai, India - Feb. 8, 2024: Mumbai Congress Leader Baba Siddique interact with media after Quits Party and he Join Ajit Pawar’s NCP on 10th Feb in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, February 8, 2024. (Photo by Satish Bate/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)

“It was going on for a long time and now I have made my decision. I wish good luck to Congress,” Baba Siddique – rumours of whose exit had been doing the rounds for some time – said hours after resigning from the grand old party on Thursday. “There’s a lot I would have liked to express, but as they say, some things are better left unsaid. I thank everyone who has been part of this journey,” stated the three-term MLA from Bandra West who lost the seat to BJP’s Ashish Shelar in the 2014 assembly polls.

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Earlier in the morning, while announcing his exit from the party on X, Siddique stated, “I joined the Indian National Congress as a teenager and it has been a significant journey lasting 48 years. Today I resign from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress Party @INCIndia with immediate effect.”

Siddiqui, who has served as minister of state for food and civil supplies, labour, food and drug administration and consumer protection, is facing a probe by the enforcement directorate (ED) into an alleged slum rehabilitation authority (SRA) scam from 2014. On May 31, 2017, the ED conducted searches at various locations including his propertiesm while on June 9, he was grilled by the agency for around eight hours.

His exit is the second big blow to the Congress in Mumbai after former member of Parliament Milind Deora joined the chief minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena on January 14.

Siddiqui’s son and Bandra East MLA Zeeshan told HT that he had no plans to leave the party. “I will stay in the Congress. There are lots of things that I have to think about as it is related to my future,” he said. But sources said he was likely to follow in his father’s footsteps after some time to avoid any action under the anti-defection law.

Congress leaders slammed Siddique for his decision. Mumbai Congress chief Varsha Gaikwad said that he should have stood with Congress when the country’s democracy was in danger. “We all know that central agencies are being misused these days. The party has given him a lot in all these years,” said Gaikwad. Leader of opposition Vijay Wadettiwar said, “Congress gave him identity. He was with a secular party and is now going to join a non-secular party.”

Siddiqui is expected to formally join the NCP with his followers on February 10, during an event in Bandra East which is expected to be attended by the party president and deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, working national president Praful Patel and other senior leaders.

With his induction, the NCP will get a Muslim face in the country’s financial capital. The development is significant given the BJP’s objection to the induction of senior leader Nawab Malik into the NCP in the past.

Siddique started his political career as a student leader and was first elected to Mumbai civic body as a corporator. He owed his rise in politics to the late actor-turned-politician Sunil Dutt. Though close to the Dutt family, he fell out with the actor’s daughter and former Congress MP Priya Dutt a few years ago. He is known for hosting star-studded Iftar parties and has brought together Bollywood’s mega stars Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan in parties in the past.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Faisal is with the political team and covers state administration and state politics. He also covers NCP.

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