- Tariq Anwar quit Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party last month
- He quit NCP after Sharad Pawar's alleged "defence" of PM on Rafale deal
- He formed NCP with Sharad Pawar and PA Sangma in 1999
Tariq Anwar returned to the Congress today, more than 19 years after he quit the party to form the Nationalist Congress Party along with Sharad Pawar and the late PA Sangma. He quit the NCP a month ago after differences with Mr Pawar, who is the party president.
He met Congress President Rahul Gandhi at the latter's Tughlaq Lane residence in New Delhi today and was welcomed into the party in the presence of Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot and Shaktisinh Gohil, the party's in-charge for Mr Anwar's state Bihar.
Tariq Anwar announced he was quitting the NCP and was also giving up his Lok Sabha membership on September 28 after party chief Sharad Pawar's alleged "defence" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Rafale fighter jet deal.
Mr Pawar was quoted in the media as having given a clean chit to Prime Minister Modi on the deal. However, he clarified later that he had been misquoted.
Tariq Anwar was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Katihar constituency in Bihar in 2014, with the support of the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal. He won the seat for the first time on a Congress ticket in 1980, when he was just 29. He won the seat again in 1984, 1996 and 1998. He was also a Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra and was made minister of state for agriculture and food processing in 2012, during the United Progressive Alliance's second term.
A former president of Congress's Bihar unit, Mr Anwar formed the NCP in 1999 along with Mr Pawar and Mr Sangma, opposing Sonia Gandhi taking over as Congress president. They cited her foreign origins as the reason for their opposition. However, the NCP soon allied with the Congress at the national level and also in Maharashtra.
Mr Anwar was general secretary of the Congress when Sitaram Kesri was party president and he is known to have been close to the latter. When Kesri was removed from the position, Mr Anwar is said to have been the only person who supported him.
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