Many in Bulandshahr say Haji Mohammed Aleem Khan,the sitting BSP MLA,picked up the towns politics where it had been left by western Uttar Pradesh strongman D P Yadav.
Aleems story is not very different from those of other politicians who made it big. He came from a family completely detached from politics. His father Rasheed Khan ran a dairy in Bulandshahr city.
But Aleem (57) and his younger brother Younis did not share their fathers passion for the dairy business. Aleem was interested in thekedari (contract work).
Initially,he worked with relatives who were contractors. But later,he began operating alone. He worked in Aligarh,Bulandshahr and Bareilly as a contractor. His business became quite popular after he began organising numaish (exhibition) functions, a local BSP leader said.
It was during one such numaish that Aleem met Rehana,who was then a dancer,and they fell in love. They married in 1989.
Aleems first marriage,with Qamar Jahan,had taken place in 1982. He had five sons,one of whom was killed in a police encounter in Meerut. Qamar Jahan lived in Bulandshahr and Rehana in Delhi,where Aleem often visited her.
As Aleems clout as a contractor increased,so did his involvement in activities which led to run-ins with the law,the BSP leader said. In 2003,Aleem and Younis were accused of allowing child labour at a circus they owned.
Delhi-based NGO Pravasi Nepali Mitra Manch had lodged an FIR at the Kotwali police station in Muzaffarnagar,alleging that boys and girls from Nepal were forcibly kept at a circus. The circus was raided by police and 32 boys and girls from Nepal were rescued. A case was registered.
He has built a business empire with meat factories in Aligarh and Sambhal. The brothers are also in the real estate business in Ghaziabad, the BSP leader said.
In his 2012 election affidavit,Aleem declared assets of Rs 1.8 crore in his name. Another Rs 16 lakh were declared in Qamar Jahans name and Rs 64 lakh in Rehanas name. His political career started in 2007 after he won the Bulandshahr seat. A BSP leader attributed Aleems victory to his closeness to senior BSP leader Dharamvir Singh Ashok,also from Bulandshahr.