Days after he went hammer and tongs at Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati with his 50 crores bribery charge, expelled BSP leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui wants Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to let him retain the ‘Z’ category security cover that he had got a decade earlier.
The BSP’s Muslim face till the last assembly elections, Mr Siddiqui is learnt to have told the Chief Minister at a 15-minute long meeting on Monday that he needed the security more than ever before, given how he had last week spoken out against his former boss.
The former BSP leader returned with an assurance from the Chief Minister that he would look into it. The Yogi Adityanath government hadn’t made up its mind yet and needs time to take a call, sources told NDTV. The request comes at a time when the state government has started the process to review security cover to leaders across the political spectrum. Many politicians have had their security cover downgraded to more realistic levels, in line with the threat perception rather than their pecking order in the political parties.
Mr Siddiqui, the BSP’s Muslim face for years and the leader of opposition during the Akhilesh Yadav government, had accused Ms Mayawati of sacking him and his son because they could not pay 50 crores that she had demanded. In a back-to-back press conference, the BSP hit back, calling its former leader a “big blackmailer” who would provoke his party leaders, record the conversation and coerce them to pay up. He had also released a series of audio tapes of his conversations with her, and claimed that he had 150 more tapes that he would release one by one.
That does make Mr Siddiqui useful to the BJP won the last assembly election with 325 seats, reducing the BSP to the number 3 slot with just 19 seats. But the BJP is reluctant to be perceived to be cozying up to Mr Siddiqui so early in the day; not when there is a view that his name could figure if the government could conduct an impartial probes into some complaints. The BJP, however, has attempted to keep the focus sharply on Ms Mayawati. When he first came up about the 50 crore bribe charge, the BJP had insisted that he was only the “cashier”; Ms Mayawati was the “real trader” of Dalit votes.