Naseemuddin Siddiqui was the closest aide of BSP supremo Mayawati for around three decades. However, the crushing defeat in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections changed the equations between the duo. According to The Indian Express, 57-year-old Naseemuddin had made a foray into politics in 1988 as an independent, contesting and losing in the election for Banda Municipal Board. The now expelled BSP leader is a resident of Banda’s Syorha village and the fifth of Qamaruddin Siddiqui’s eight sons.
Naseemuddin joined the BSP in 1990. A former BSP MP from Banda told IE that Naseemuddin was a contractor for railways before joining the BSP. Naseemuddin joined BSP at a time when the party was finding it hard to bring even a single Muslim to its meetings, according to the former MP. The expelled BSP leader won his assembly election from Banda in 1991 but lost in 1993, when BSP fought the polls in alliance with the SP. After the defeat, the former BSP MP said that Naseemuddin reached Lucknow, started making rounds of Delhi and got close to Mayawati.
When the BSP supremo became Uttar Pradesh CM for the first time with the support of BJP in 1995, Naseemuddin was nominated to the Legislative Council and appointed as a minister. In the second BJP-BSP government in 1997, Naseemuddin served as the agriculture minister, while in 2002 he was appointed as a minister for transport, environment, and excise in the third BJP-BSP government.
The expelled leader was always considered to be very close to Mayawati. He was not just a co-accused with Mayawati in the Taj Corridor scam, but also the Muslim face of the party during 2007 Assembly election campaign. When Mayawati formed the government with full majority in 2007, Naseemuddin was given the charge of around a dozen departments including PWD and excise. In 2010, Naseemuddin’s wife Husna was also nominated as a BSP MLC. She joined Naseemuddin in the upper house.
Naseemuddin served as Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council after Mayawati lost the CM post to Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav in 2012. In 2014, Naseemuddin’s son Afzal fought Lok Sabha election from Fatehpur but lost. When BSP failed to win any seat in 2014, Naseemuddin was given charge of BSP’s western UP and Lucknow divisions, while his son was the in-charge of the party’s ‘Muslim Bhaichara’ campaign in western UP.
After the poor performance of BSP in 2017 Assembly election, Mayawati removed Naseemuddin from all party posts in UP and sent him to Madhya Pradesh. However, Naseemuddin allegedly didn’t go to MP and he was expelled for having “indulged in indiscipline” by remaining in Lucknow, Noida and Delhi.
Not just the election loss, Mayawati-Naseemuddin relation also apparently soured further after Yogi Adityanath government in the state initiated a probe into the sale of sugar mills. According to the IE report, Mayawati said sale of sugar mill was done by the Cabinet and Naseemuddin’s department. Mayawati stressed that she had not passed any of those orders.
Mayawati ji ne mujhe bula kar poocha ki Musalmano ne BSP ko vote kyun nahi diya? Unhone kaha gaddar hain: Naseemuddin Siddiqui,ex-BSP leader
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 11, 2017
Following his ouster from the party, Naseemuddin rued his years of “sacrifices” for the party couldn’t help him. Attacking Mayawati, Naseemuddin narrated an example from 1996. IE quoted him as saying: “When Mayawati was contesting the assembly election from Bilsi of Badaun in 1996, she made me her election in-charge. My eldest child, my only daughter, fell seriously ill. My wife called me, crying, and asked me to come as our daughter was breathing her last. When I sought Mayawati’s permission to visit my daughter, she said the election is very tough. ‘You are my election agent. If you go, it will mean my defeat.’ In other words, for her personal benefit, Mayawati denied me permission to go to my daughter and get her treated. My daughter died without treatment and I did not even go for her last rites.”
The expelled BSP leader is also facing a number of probes including those related to irregularities in construction of memorials and parks during Mayawati’s regime.
On Thursday, Naseemuddin accused Mayawati of calling all Muslims “traitors”. “Mayawati called me and asked ‘why Muslims didn’t vote for BSP?’ She said they are traitors,” ANI quoted him as saying.
(With agency inputs)