Dumped by Mayawati, Embraced by Cong: The Bumpy Journey of Former ‘Mini CM’ Naseemuddin Siddiqui

Dumped by Mayawati, Embraced by Cong: The Bumpy Journey of Former ‘Mini CM’ Naseemuddin Siddiqui

Lucknow: In the long political journey of BSP chief and former UP chief minister Mayawati, there were many who came and joined her, some left her while some were shown the door by the supremo herself. One of the most important names in the list of her confidants, who are no longer with her, is that of Naseemuddin Siddiqui. At one time, the leader was considered as number two in the BSP.

Siddiqui also held powerful and important portfolios in the BSP regime and was also considered as a strong Muslim face of the party.

Born to a family of farmers in a small village of Banda district in Uttar Pradesh, Siddiqui has also been a national level volleyball player. Siddiqui worked as a contractor in railways for some time before entering the world of politics in 1988 by contesting in Banda Municipal Corporation polls as an independent. However, he didn’t succeed in his first attempt.

After an unsuccessful attempt, Siddiqui joined Bahujan Samaj Party and contested for assembly election from Banda in 1991, and registered a win, thus becoming the first Muslim MLA of BSP. However in 1993, when Naseemuddin contested again, he lost from the same constituency. It was in 1995 when Mayawati became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for the first time, that Naseemuddin became a cabinet minister. Post ’95, he always held important portfolios whenever BSP came to power in the state.

The rise of Naseemuddin Siddiqui in BSP earned him the title of ‘Mini CM’ in the political bylanes.

Naseemuddin’s wife Husna was also made an MLC in 2010, while his son Afzal had unsuccessfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Fatehpur on a BSP ticket.

After the poor performance of BSP in the 2017 Assembly election, Mayawati removed Siddiqui from all party posts in UP and sent him to Madhya Pradesh.

In July 2016, when Siddiqui organised a protest demonstration in Lucknow against BJP leader Dayashankar Singh for making derogatory remarks on BSP chief, the leader allegedly made ‘highly provocative’ comments against Singh’s wife Swati and his teenage daughter. The BJP was quick to seize the opportunity and turned the table on the BSP by launching a counter campaign “Swati Ke Samaan mein, BJP Maidan mein”.

This snatched away a potential poll agenda from the BSP. Akhilesh Yadav, the then chief minister, who had ordered an FIR against Singh under Prevention of atrocities (SC/ST) Act, was forced to recommend a police case against Siddiqui and other BSP leaders under POCSO Act. BJP elevated Swati Singh as the head of its women wing in UP and she is now a junior minister in the Yogi Adityanath cabinet.

In the last few years, relations soured between Siddiqui and Mayawati and he openly alleged that for the BSP supremo, only money was important. As a result of his barbs, Siddiqui was expelled and later, he joined Congress.

Siddiqui, who has been named in several cases including the alleged memorial scam worth Rs 1,400 crores during the BSP regime, is now an official candidate of Congress from Bijnor, where Muslim and Dalit voters make up a considerable chunk

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