Another blow for Mumbai Congress as Baba Siddique quits; to join Ajit Pawar-led NCP

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Mumbai, Feb 8 (PTI) Congress leader and former Maharashtra minister Baba Ziauddin Siddique, popularly known as Baba Siddique, on Thursday said he had resigned from the party and will be joining the Ajit Pawar led-NCP.

He is the second senior Mumbai Congress leader to leave the party in the last one month after former Union minister Milind Deora joined the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena in January.

Siddique's son Zeeshan is a Congress MLA from the city, but the senior leader said the latter will take his own decision.

The 66-year-old leader did not cite any reason for his decision to leave the Grand Old Party, only stating "some things are better left unsaid." Talking to reporters, Baba Siddique said some decisions are painful, but they have to be taken.

A prominent Muslim face of the Mumbai Congress, Siddique served as a minister when the Congress-NCP coalition was in power in Maharashtra.

"I joined the Indian National Congress party as a young 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," he said in a post on X.

"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 a part of this journey," he added.

Later, talking to reporters, Siddique said, "I will go with the Ajit Pawar group. My journey will be from Congress to Nationalist Congress Party." The Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP, recognized as the real NCP by the Election Commission earlier this week, is part of the ruling coalition in the state.

He will hold a rally on February 10 and it will be attended by corporators and Zilla Parishad members from across Maharashtra, Siddique said.

During the peak of COVID-19 pandemic, Siddique had earned praise for arranging highly sought-after medicines for needy patients.

The politician is also known for his grand Iftar parties which are attended by top Bollywood stars.

His son Zeeshan Siddique is currently the Congress MLA from Bandra (East) in Mumbai.

When asked whether Zeeshan will follow in his footsteps, Siddique said he will take his own call. PTI PR GK NR KRK NR

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