BSP’s former Muslim face Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who was recently expelled by party chief Mayawati, on Saturday floated a new political outfit — Rashtriya Bahujan Morcha — calling it a “new political platform for the deprived sections of society”. The decision to float the outfit was taken at a meeting of Siddiqui’s supporters including former BSP workers in Lucknow. It was decided that Siddiqui will be the convener of the outfit while former BSP leaders Brahma Swaroop Sagar, Om Prakash Singh and Achhey Lal Nishad will be co-conveners.
After his expulsion, Siddiqui had accused Mayawati of demanding Rs 50 crore from him, releasing recordings of phone conversations in which, he claimed, she could be heard “asking him for money”. Mayawati, however, had claimed later that she was only asking him to return party funds related to membership drives. Siddiqui’s expulsion was followed by the resignation of a few BSP leaders.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Siddiqui said that the Rashtriya Bahujan Morcha will be a political outfit, but a decision on contesting polls will be taken during election time. “Before that, I will tour across UP, Uttarakhand and Delhi to expand the organisation and collect opinions of supporters on future programmes of the morcha,” he added.
Asked whether the new front will be an alternative for Dalits and Muslims against BSP, Siddiqui said it will be a platform to provide “social and political participation” to the poor and deprived from all sections. “You can see that there is one Jatav, one Thakur and an OBC among the co-conveners,” said Siddiqui, claiming that various BSP leaders including ex-MPs and ex-MLAs were in touch with him. Siddiqui said that former BSP MLC Athar Khan and sitting MLC Brajesh Singh too were with him.
When contacted, Athar said he had resigned from BSP on May 11 in protest of Siddiqui’s expulsion. “Missionary workers in BSP were being ignored. My hopes of improvement in BSP vanished when Siddiqui was expelled,” he claimed. His son Sultan Ahmed had unsuccessfully contested the recent state Assembly elections from Matera in Bahraich as a BSP nominee. Athar claimed that he had been associated with the Bahujan movement for over 30 years. Before he resigned from BSP, he was the party’s coordinator for a zone comprising Faizabad and Devipatan divisions.
Siddiqui is a member of the UP Legislative Council and was leader of Opposition in the previous government. After expulsion from BSP, he had attended the recent session of the Council. In a press statement, he said that there was a “conspiracy going on to finish Bahujan ideologies” and some people were doing “politics of personal interests in the name of Bahujan”.