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Published in the 16-31 May 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Meo leader Tayyab Hussain to join BJP?

New Delhi: Congress cadres are worried over senior Meo leader, Tayyab Hussain’s reported plans to join BJP. Neary 2.5 lakh Meos are concentrated in four assembly segements of Bharatpur and have a crucial role in deciding the the fate of candidates in the Lok Sabha elections.

Hussain, a minister in the previous Congress government in Rajasthan state, had quit the party last month after denial of party ticket to fight the Lok Sabha elections from Bharatppur.

The assembly segments in this Lok Sabha constituency where Meos are in marjority are Kaman, Nagar, Ramgarh and Laxmangarh. Hussain’s defeat from Kaman in the recent assembly elections by a narrow margin apparently led to his "disillusionment" with the Congress. The political equation emerging from Hussain’s move just before the polls was seen to benefit the BJP. However, political analysts believe that the swing in the the Meo votes may not be significant as the BJP would be an awkward choice for the community. 

There is an indication that the BJP is apprehensive of taking the Meo leader within its wings as organisations like Bajrang Dal had in the past dubbed Hussain an “ISI agent”. The previous Gehlot Government in Rajasthan had gone to the extent of ordering an enquiry by the CID into the charges of Hussain’s being an ISI agent. However, the enquiry absolved Hussain of any such links. Members of the Meo community are spread over the states of Rajasthan, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. Hussain has the distinction of being a minister in as many as three states in the past. 

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