Mr. Ali challenges BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to prove allegations against him, claiming there is no shred of evidence to link him to IM operative Yasin Bhatkal

Under pressure from its workers and its ideological fountainhead, the RSS, the BJP on Saturday announced the annulment of former JD(U) MP Sabir Ali's membership. Mr. Ali had joined the BJP on Friday, offering his support for the prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Mr. Ali's inclusion had sparked off a controversy when senior member Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi tweeted his disapproval and urged the leadership to reconsider the decision. Mr. Naqvi had alleged that Mr. Ali has links with arrested IM operative Yasin Bhatkal. Shortly after protests from BJP workers, the RSS has also announced its disapproval. RSS national leader Ram Madhav tweeted: “Sabir Ali induction has caused great resentment. Party leadership has been apprised of d strong views of d cadre n people agnst it...”

The leadership eventually gave in by annulling his membership, but not before, issuing a gag order for members. Following a slew of angry comments from party workers, president Rajnath Singh asked all members to refrain from commenting in public space.

Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the president has told members that if they want to express their views they should do so at the party's forum. He also declined to comment on whether the party had discussed the induction of Mr. Ali.

Incidentally, Mr. Naqvi has already deleted his tweet, “"Terrorist Bhatkal friend joins BJP...soon accepting Dawood...," that set off the controversy.

This is the second time this week that the party has has to revoke the admission of a new member, earlier it decided to withdraw its welcome to Sriram Sene leader Pramod Mutalik following widespread protests.

Mr. Prasad however, refuted claims that there is disagreement within the party over induction of new members. “There may be two opinions in the party over induction, that doesn't mean there is difference in the leadership or in the election programme, we are fully united.”

Reacting to the protests, Mr. Ali had also shot off a letter to Dharmendra Pradhan party's Bihar in-charge to put his induction on hold.

“I have written a letter to Dharmendra Pradhan to keep my membership on hold. I have also asked him to form a committee in this regard and enquire into my case on the basis of these allegations. If they find these allegations true even distantly, I will quit politics forever," Mr. Ali told mediapersons before his induction was revoked.

The expelled JD(U) MP has also challenged Mr. Naqvi to prove the allegations against him, claiming there is no shred of evidence to link him to Bhatkal. “I am asking if he has the guts to prove? If not he should quit politics. I am ready to do," he said.