Former BSP bigwig Nasimuddin joins Congress

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 22, 2018 Published on February 22, 2018

This November 2017 photograph shows expelled BSP leader Nasimuddin Siddiqui (centre) with his supporters in Lucknow   -  PTI

In what was described as a “sign of things to come”, the Congress on Thursday rolled down the red carpet for former BSP stalwart Nasimuddin Siddiqui and 52 former MLAs, MLCs, MPs and workers from Mayawati’s party.

Siddiqui likened their entry into the Congress to “wayward boats returning to anchor to the mother ship”. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and senior Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit chief, Raj Babbar, said the development was a clear indication of the “swelling ranks of the Congress because of the popular disenchantment with the BJP”.

Siddiqui, who was once described by BSP founder Kanshi Ram as his “human shield” for protecting him at a public meeting in Banda, UP, was expelled by Mayawati last year on charges of financial misconduct. He had formed the Rashtriya Bahujan Morcha last year and been weighing his options till last month when he reportedly met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and decided to join the party.

“As you can see, leaders from the BSP who have worked as MPs, MLAs, MLCs and ministers have come to join the Congress and they are spilling out from our rooms to the lawns of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) office. This is a sign of changing times and what the future holds for the Congress. We believe that this is only the beginning of a national trend. The Congress is regrouping and signs of its national rejuvenation are there for everyone to see,” said Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Along with Siddiqui, who is still an MLC in Uttar Pradesh, his entire family, former UP minister from Sultanpur OP Singh, former minister Raghunath Prasad Sankhwar from Sultanpur and several others joined the Congress on Thursday

Azad said this move is not aimed at alienating or angering Mayawati in any way.

Behenji has no reason to be angry with us because we are not taking anything from her. She had already expelled most of these leaders so it is not as if our intent is to weaken the BSP,” said Azad.

The Congress veteran, who is in charge of coordinating with other parties for a larger alliance formation, said, “Even after Behenji took some of our sitting MLAs in UP just before the Assembly elections, we continued our efforts to get her to join us to fight the BJP. I had myself approached Behenji to join hands with us. The Congress always keeps the big picture in mind.”

Published on February 22, 2018
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