Mumbai, March 28 (IANS) With a second prominent Muslim leader – Naveed A. Antulay of Raigad – quitting the Congress in four days, the grand old party’s minority-friendly image suffered another dent here on Thursday.
Naveed Antulay, son of the late Abdul Rehman Antulay, former union Minister and Maharashtra’s first Muslim Chief Minister, met Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray and tied a ‘Shiv-Bandhan’ with the party on Wednesday.
This is the second big jolt to the Congress this week after Sillod MLA Abdul Sattar A. Nabi from Aurangabad district quit the party on Monday after he was denied a Lok Sabha nomination.
Though Sattar has not joined any party, Sattar will announce his future political plans on Friday after a meeting with his supporters.
Naveed Antulay’s entry would be a boon to the Shiv Sena candidate from Raigad, union Minister Anant Geete, but could prove to be bane for Nationalist Congress Party’s Sunil Tatkare, contesting in alliance with the Congress.
Welcoming the Antulay kin, Thackeray said that Naveed Antulay’s entry to the party would strengthen and carry forward the old personal friendship enjoyed by Antulay and the Sena founder-patriarch Bal Thackeray for decades.
“They had a unique friendship independent of politics, though they did not belong to one party. Their gen-next will carry forward the old friendship and the legacy of their work in the state,” Thackeray said.
The late Antulay still commands respect in the sprawling region, earlier known as Kulaba Lok Sabha constituency, (later renamed as Raigad) in the coastal Konkan, adjacent to Mumbai on the mainland.
Interestingly, the late Antulay was vanquished by Geete, who is now fighting the election from Raigad and Naveed Antulay’s support base could help boost his prospects.
In the absence of any political wave this time, the going may not be easy for Geete, who craped through in 2014 with a wafer thin margin of 2,000 votes against Tatkare, who happens to be the late Antulay’s protege.