Days after his exit from the Congress, former Maharashtra minister Baba Siddique joined the Nationalist Congress Party on Saturday, reported the Hindustan Times.

“My condition in the Congress was how curry leaves are used to enhance the taste of food,” Siddique said after being inducted into the Nationalist Congress Party faction led by by Ajit Pawar, reported NDTV. Siddique claimed that the Congress had been using him to attract Muslim votes.

Siddique said that he recently met with former Union minister and working president of the Nationalist Congress Party Praful Patel, “after which it was decided that I have to work in the NCP under the leadership of Ajit Pawar”, reported NDTV.

The development comes after a group of MLAs led by Ajit Pawar was recognised as the real Nationalist Congress Party by the Election Commission earlier this week.

In July, Ajit Pawar and several MLAs of the Nationalist Congress Party joined Maharashtra’s ruling coalition comprising the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. This had split the party, with one faction supporting Ajit Pawar and the other backing his uncle and party founder Sharad Pawar.

Before quitting the Congress, Siddique was the chairperson of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee. He was also on the parliamentary board of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee. Siddique served as an MLA from the Vandre West Assembly constituency in Mumbai for three terms, beginning in 1999, 2004 and 2009.

“I joined the Indian National Congress party as a young teenager and it has been a significant journey lasting 48 years,” Siddique wrote on social media platform X on Thursday. “Today I resign from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress Party with immediate effect. There’s a lot I would have liked to express but as they say some things are better left unsaid.”

Siddique is the second Congress leader from Mumbai to leave the party this year after Milind Deora defected to the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena in January. The Congress – as part of the INDIA bloc – will contest the Lok Sabha election in Maharashtra in partnership with the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) and the Nationalist Congress Party-Sharadchandra Pawar.

In April 2018, the Enforcement Directorate had attached properties worth Rs 462 crore linked to Siddique and real estate firm Pyramid Developers in connection with a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

In 2017, the Enforcement Directorate filed a case against Siddique, accusing him of misusing his position as the chairperson of Mumbai’s Slum Rehabilitation Authority in order to give a redevelopment contract to the real estate firm. The case pertains to a project to rehabilitate the residents of the Jamaat-e-Jamooria slum in Bandra.