BSP chief Mayawati on Wednesday expelled party general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui and his son Afzal, accusing the veteran leader of “anti-party activities” and corruption.
Considered the BSP’s Muslim face, Siddiqui struck back, saying he would prove “with evidence” that these charges were true of Mayawati and Rajya Sabha member Satish Chandra Misra who announced the expulsion and levelled the allegations.
Siddiqui and son Afzal, a close aide said, were keeping future options open. “Both Congress and SP have been approaching us for the last few days. Both parties have their own merits. Akhilesh Yadav has a future ahead, while the Congress can accommodate us better. It can even give us some post at the national level. Both options are open. We will decide very soon,” the aide said.
On their expulsion, Afzal told The Indian Express: “It is not unexpected. It has been going on for a while, immediately after the election results were out. We knew about it. We have been given this reward for 35 years of loyalty,” he said, taking a swipe at Mayawati: “Vinash kaale, viprit buddhi (one loses intellect as the end approaches)… She is not interested in running the party. All she wants is to secure herself.”
The expulsion was announced by Satish Chandra Misra at a press conference at his residence. He accused Siddiqui of amassing benami properties, running slaughter houses and accepting money from people by promising favours.
“When the BSP could not form the government, these people started demanding their money from Siddiqui. Then, Siddiqui, while trying to sell his benami properties, spread wrong information that the party was asking for a big sum of money from him,” he said.
Misra said Mayawati had asked Siddiqui to work as party coordinator in the areas of Madhya Pradesh adjoining Uttar Pradesh, but he did not go there. “Instead, he stayed in Lucknow, Noida and Delhi and indulged in anti-party activities,” he said.
In a statement, Siddiqui hit back, saying the allegations levelled against him were “false and baseless” and he would prove “with evidence” that these charges were true of Mayawati and Misra. He said his expulsion was “the reward for the sacrifices” made by him, his family and his associates “in 30-35 years in BSP”.
Siddiqui claimed Mayawati levelled “false allegations” against Muslims and made objectionable comments when success eluded the party in the Lok Sabha elections of 2009, 2014 and the assembly elections of 2012, 2017 because of her “wrong policies”.
He claimed Mayawati called a meeting after the party’s defeat and said “bad things about upper castes and backwards” and “uttered derogatory words for Muslims”.
“Also, Mayawati, Anand Kumar (her brother) and Satish Chandra Misra, illegally, unethically and in manners beyond humanity, put demands before me. That was not in my capacity to fulfil them. I was unnecessarily put under pressure to fulfil those demands. I was harassed mentally several times and I was tortured. I have concrete evidence of this. As I am not in Lucknow today, I am sending this brief press note. I will reply to the accusation of Mayawatiji and Company tomorrow through a press conference,” Siddiqui said in the statement.
The BSP also announced the expulsion of two of Siddiqui’s close associates, former MLA O P Singh and former MLC Pradeep Singh.
Siddiqui has been a prominent face in the party organisation for over a decade. As a member of Mayawati’s cabinet between 2007 and 2012, he headed about a dozen departments. His wife Husna became a party MLC in 2010.
After the 2012 defeat, he became Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council. In the party, he was in-charge of most areas in central UP and Bundelkhand before 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Son Afzal contested the Fatehpur Lok Sabha seat but was defeated.
After the party’s rout in 2014, Mayawati changed the responsibilities of coordinators and Siddiqui was made in-charge of west UP, a region crucial for BSP. Afzal was made in-charge of BSP’s Muslim outreach campaign in west UP. Other than Mayawati, Siddiqui was the star BSP campaigner in the 2017 assembly polls.