Congress’ lone Muslim MLA in Madhya Pradesh, Arif Aqueel has threatened to resign over “humiliation” he is facing in the party unit, prompting the state leadership to seek intervention of the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to retain him in the party fold.
Aqueel rang up the Leader of Opposition in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly, Satyadev Katare, yesterday and told him that he was resigning within two hours as he is being humiliated in the party, sources said.
However, Katare asked Aqueel to wait till Monday and apprised the offices of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi about the development, a senior leader said on condition of anonymity today.
According to him, Rahul is understood to have asked Katare over phone to ensure that the five-time MLA and former minister does not part ways with the party.
The leader said the Congress vice-president pulled up the AICC general secretary and party’s MP incharge Mohan Prakash over Aqeel’s disgruntlement. “Prakash in turn contacted the MLA over phone and tried to placate him.” Congress has 57 MLAs in the 230-member House.
Aqueel, a loyalist of AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, is reportedly not getting along with state unit president Arun Yadav, believed to be from the camp of senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Aqueel is reportedly disgruntled since he was not considered for the post of vice-president in recently constituted state Congress executive committee.
Sources said Aqueel has been unhappy with Yadav since his detractors in the Bhopal North seat were given tickets to contest corporators’ election.
When contacted by PTI, Katare said, “I will not talk about Aqueel’s issue outside the party. It will be sorted out within the party.”
According to party insiders, the chief of Hyderabad-based MIM, Asaduddin Owaisi has sent feelers to Aqeel to lead his party in the state. Aqueel could not be contacted for his comments even after repeated calls.