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BSP expels ex-MLA in Uttarakhand after CM attends his son’s wedding

The Bahujan Samaj Party on Sunday expelled two-time legislator Mohammed Shahzad from the party, a day after chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and his cabinet colleague Madan Kaushik attended his son’s wedding in Haridwar

dehradun Updated: Jul 15, 2018 21:55 IST
Sandeep Rawat
Sandeep Rawat
Hindustan Times, Haridwar
Mohammed Shahzad. (RAMESHWAR GAUR/HT PHOTO)

The Bahujan Samaj Party on Sunday expelled two-time legislator Mohammed Shahzad from the party, a day after chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat and his cabinet colleague Madan Kaushik attended his son’s wedding in Haridwar.

Talks about close association of Shahzad, a heavyweight minority leader of Haridwar, with the saffron party and the probability of his joining hands with the ruling party in Uttarakhand were making rounds ever since Rawat and Kaushik attended the wedding at Lebolhi in Manglaur town of Haridwar district on Saturday.

BSP state general secretary Satish Kumar announced the expulsion of Shahzad for “anti-party activities” at a press conference called at the party head office in Shivalik Nagar area of Haridwar district.

According to a BSP leader present at the wedding, Rawat met Shahzad in the presence of Kaushik “in a closed door meeting for at least 20 minutes”. None of the party leaders or Shahzad’s family members was allowed in the meeting.

Shahzad said that he was yet to receive the expulsion notice. “If CM and his cabinet ministers arrive at my son’s wedding, does it mean it is anti-party activity? Apart from BJP, there were Congress, Samajwadi Party, BSP, UKD and other party’s leaders as well,” he said.

He rejected the claims of his joining the BJP. “I have fought elections in past as an independent candidate and can do so in future elections also,” he added.

Shahzad alleged ill-treatment by BSP because of which he had quit the party earlier also and contested as an independent candidate. “Prior to rejoining BSP, I had similar fear of being ill-treated as was done earlier too. No notice has been served to me before this incident. I have not indulged in anti-party activity as is being touted,” he said.

Shahzad was elected as an MLA from Bahadrabad seat in Haridwar in 2002 and 2007 respectively, but lost 2017 assembly polls from Peeran Kaliyar seat.

While the CM and Kaushik’s meeting with Shahzad has created fissures within BSP, some BJP legislators, particularly those from local parliamentarian Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank’s camp, are also unhappy that the CM attended the BSP leader’s family function.

Lakshar MLA Sanjay Gupta, a bête noire of Kaushik, said that the CM failed to attend the Arya convention at Gurukul Mahavidyalya last week, but attended the wedding of Shahzad’s son. “This doesn’t give good message to the voters and people associated with BJP’s ideology. We have 57 legislators in 70-seat assembly. We should better focus on development works,” Gupta said.

On speculations of Shahzad being a key person in Kauskhik’s plans to contest the parliamentary election from Haridwar, BJP legislator Swami Yatishwaranand said that sitting MP Nishank is doing good job. “With both party and public happy with his (Nishank’s) work how come any question of him being denied the party ticket arise,” he asked.

Commenting on the issue, Kaushik said it’s a common gesture to attend a wedding of fellow politician and should not be linked to political reasons. “It was a courtesy visit, nothing sort of closed door meeting, just normal talks. I have friends in every party, no one is bitter foe in politics,” he added.

With the zila panchayat polls approaching, the politically repercussions of the episode can be seen in Haridwar in the coming days.

First Published: Jul 15, 2018 21:55 IST