From a petty contractor to a powerful politician, it was a remarkable journey for Naseemuddin Siddiqui who was expelled from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Wednesday.
Resident of Girwa village in the backward Banda district, Siddiqui’s family struggled for a living till he became a minister in the first BSP government in 1995.
Siddiqui had joined the BSP in 1990 and soon became a close confidant of Mayawati. He contested the assembly election from Banda and won thereafter. Though he lost the 1993 assembly election, Mayawati sent him to the legislative council. He became a minister in 1995 when Mayawati formed her first government with BJP support.
He was appointed minister in the BSP governments in 1997 and 2002 as well.
In the 2007 assembly election, the BSP formed a majority government and Siddiqui became the second most powerful leader in the government with 10 departments under him.
The fact that some party leaders called him mini CM was a reflection of his clout. Besides, Mayawati appointed him zonal coordinator and president of the Muslim bhai-chara committee.
Siddiqui’s family members, including his brother, wife, brother-in-law and son, also became active in the party. His wife Husana Siddiqui was made member of the legislative council. His son Afzal Siddiqui contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Fatehpur but lost to BJP’s Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, who is now a union minister.
As Siddiqui’s clout increased in the party, so did his assets. Banda resident Ashok Patel said Siddiqui purchased properties in Banda, Lucknow, Noida and Delhi. He invested money in the real estate and set up a food processing unit.
Sources claimed he also hatched a conspiracy against senior leaders Swami Prasad Maurya, Daddu Prasad, Babu Singh Kushwaha, Jugul Kishore and Dara Singh Chauhan. Siddiqui’s stature increased after Mayawati expelled them from the party.
He was under the lokayukta’s scanner on the charge of having assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. During a probe, the lokayukta found that his son was running six companies, including AQ Frozen Food, GT Infotech, QF Enterprises, AOB Agro Food Private Limited, AAA Awas Private Limited and AOB Export Private Limited. All the companies were registered in Kanpur and Delhi.
In August 2012, the Lokayukta recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe in the disproportionate asset case, grabbing of nazul (government) land and allotment of patta (contract) for mining in violation of rules.
The ombudsman also recommended registration of a case against Siddiqui on the charge of committing irregularities in the construction of Dalit memorials. After the BJP won power in March, chief minister Yogi Adityanath ordered a CBI probe into the sale of 21 public sector sugar mills during the BSP regime.
Addressing party workers on Bhimrao Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on April 14, BSP chief Mayawati blamed Siddiqui for the privatisation of sugar mills. It was clear that the gap between the duo had widened. Later, he was stripped of all the organisational posts in UP and was sent to Madhya Pradesh. He did not take up the new assignment. And, on Wednesday, he was expelled from BSP on the charge of anti- party activities and indiscipline.