‘Naseemuddin Siddiqui’s induction into Congress may not have gone down well with BSP’
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‘Naseemuddin Siddiqui’s induction into Congress may not have gone down well with BSP’

The induction of Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati’s former trusted lieutenant Naseemuddin Siddqui into the Congress has led to speculation on whether the move will hit plans for a grand alliance against the BJP in Uttar Pradesh in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, an activist said.

lucknow Updated: Feb 27, 2018 13:57 IST
Brajendra K Parashar
Brajendra K Parashar
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Naseemuddin Siddiqui,Congress,Samajwadi Party
Naseemuddin Siddiqui.(HT Photo)

The induction of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati’s former trusted lieutenant Naseemuddin Siddqui into the Congress has led to speculation on whether the move will hit plans for a grand alliance against the BJP in Uttar Pradesh in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, an activist said.

He claimed the Congress decision on the ex-UP minister may not have gone down well with the Mayawati-led party.

Siddiqui, who was the BSP’s most prominent Muslim face, joined the Congress in Delhi on Thursday. He was expelled from the BSP in May last year on the charge of carrying out anti-party activities, prompting him to hit back at Mayawati.

He had come out with so-called audio tapes of his conversation with Mayawati to claim that money was being demanded from him.

Arakshan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti president Awadhesh Kumar Verma, who is often seen speaking for the BSP in television debates, said, “Mayawati was deeply hurt by Naseemuddin’s charges.”

“Induction of Siddiqui into Congress is, therefore, bound to affect the chances of a grand alliance taking shape in UP,” he said.

Leader of the BSP Legislature Party in the Vidhan Sabha Lalji Verma said BSP had expelled Naseemuddin Siddiqui last year. He was free to join another political party or to launch a party.

When asked if it will hit the opposition parties’ initiative to form a grand alliance against BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Verma refused to comment. “BSP central leadership will decide over the formation of grand alliance with likeminded political parties before poll,” he said.

The Congress, however, doesn’t see the move hitting scope for any future alliance.

“First of all, as of now, we are preparing to fight on our own to win and form the next government at the Centre,” Congress spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh said.

“And if at all a need for an alliance is felt in future, the Congress will have no problem in finding poll partners,” he added.

He said induction of Siddiqui into the Congress was a small development vis-à-vis the larger goal that the grand alliance would seek to achieve.

“Leaders keep coming and going from one party to another, but this does not hit the formation of an alliance. For example, the Congress and the SP forged an alliance in 2017 despite some leaders from both the parties switching over their loyalties,” Singh argued.

For his part, Verma said:“Mayawati might not have been able to prevail upon the Congress leadership, or she might not have tried to do so at all, but she must have taken the matter quite seriously.”

Trying to substantiate his point, Verma claimed a senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and member of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family was also all set to join the Congress, but the top SP leadership threw the spanner in the plan by telling the Congress in no uncertain terms that any such move might affect a possible electoral tie up with the Congress in 2019.

First Published: Feb 27, 2018 13:57 IST