As the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) moves towards decimation of sorts in Uttar Pradesh, its president Mayawati has slipped into panic mode.
Mayawati, for the first time in her political career, is swallowing her pride and breaking the same rules that had turned her party into a “political firewall”.
When Mayawati announced the expulsion of her close aide Naseemuddin Siddiqui on 10 May, it was just another expulsion from a party that had survived on the expulsion of senior leaders.
What Mayawati had not bargained for was the shattering reaction that came from Siddiqui a day later.
A day after he was shown the door, Naseemuddin Siddiqui called the media and played out seven audio clips of his conversation with Mayawati in which she is heard asking him to “complete the work” at the earliest. The “work” was allegedly related to depositing Rs 50 crore by Siddiqui after selling off his property.
Siddiqui claimed that he had over 150 such recordings and one of them was related to Mayawati “plotting” to eliminate “someone”.
“Mayawati had never imagined that her conversations on landline phones would be recorded by Naseemuddin Siddiqui. She rarely uses a mobile phone because she knows that they can be recorded. She is now nervous because she does not know what he has in his kitty,” said a party functionary.
In order to fortify her party and save herself, Mayawati has not only stopped her attack on Siddiqui, but has finally opened her doors for other expelled leaders.
The BSP never had a return ticket, but now it does have one. The first expelled leader brought back into the BSP is former minister Anees Ahmad, aka Phoola Babu. Then, former MLAs Abdul Mannan and Abdul Hannan were welcomed back into the party.
All these second rung Muslim leaders will now take on Naseemuddin Siddiqui, while the BSP president will maintain a studied silence. Sources said that some other BSP leaders, who have not yet joined other parties, were being contacted and would shortly be welcomed back into the party. Former minister Babu Singh Kushwaha is among those who have been sent feelers.
In another first, Mayawati has appointed spokespersons to interact with the media. This is the first time that the BSP has officially appointed spokespersons. Retired IAS officer Kunwar Fateh Bahadur is one of the better known spokespersons that the BSP now has.
The party is also mulling having students’ and women’s wings in the party. Till now, the BSP is the only party that does not have any frontal units with the exception of the Bahujan Volunteer Force (BVF), which serves mainly as a volunteer brigade to control crowds during party rallies and does not have any political role to play.
“It is too late for the BSP to regain lost ground. No amount of remedial steps will revive the party because everyone has realised how Mayawati has sold Kanshi Ram’s dream for a price. Every single leader who has left the BSP has accused her of extortion and everyone cannot be wrong,” said a former BSP leader. He added that by appointing her brother Anand Kumar as BSP vice president, Mayawati has shut the doors on her party workers.
“In the Samajwadi Party, everyone knows that top positions are reserved for family members and now the BSP is following the same path—a path that Kanshi Ram strongly criticised. Party workers who revere every word that Kanshi Ram uttered, will never accept nepotism in the party,” said one Rakesh Kumar, a Dalit writer.