SP dumps Siddiqui over Modi chat
Barely six months back, senior Samajwadi Party (SP) Azam Khan had called Shahid Siddiqui his ''humsafar'' (comrade-in-arms) and the SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had warmly welcomed him back to the party fold saying that his return would strengthen the SP.
Surprisingly, the same party which welcomed Siddiqui with open arms now say that he was never a member of SP and that, the media should stop portraying him as an SP leader.
Barely days after Siddiqui, who also runs an Urdu newspaper, interviewed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi (who is considered an anathema to any political party showing even slightest interest in Muslim votes), the SP literally disowned him.
SP general secretary, Ramgopal Yadav, said in a statement here that he was forced to issue a clarification as the media had been portraying Siddiqui as an SP leader. “He was never the SP member....he had joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and contested from Bijnore on BSP ticket”, Yadav said.
SP spokesman, Rajendra Chaudhary said that the SP “had no relationship with Siddiqui”.
Senior SP leader and UP minister, Shivpal Singh Yadav went a step further in disowning Siddiqui. “Who is he (Siddiqui)?...I do not know him'', Shivpal told reporters in response to a query at Kanpur on Saturday.
Siddiqui had joined the party in presence of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, his son and the Chief Minister of UP, Akhilesh Yadav, Azam Khan and others on January 8 last and the decision had been announced at a press conference. Khan had called him his “comrade-in-arms, whom he missed a lot”.
Siddiqui had interviewed Modi two days back during which the saffron leader had said that he would prefer to be hanged if found guilty rather than apologising for the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat.
Siddiqui’s unceremonious sacking indicated that the SP did not want to take any risk when it came to safeguarding its Muslim vote bank, which is very crucial for the party if it wanted to play the role of a ‘king maker’ in the 2014 Lok Sabha (LS) polls.
“If SP wants to play a role in the government formation after 2014 LS polls, it will have to win a good number of the 80 LS seats in UP and without the support of the Muslims it is not possible,” said a senior SP leader.
Muslims, which constitute around 20 per cent of the state’s electorate, play a decisive role in nearly 25 LS seats of Uttar Pradesh.