Samajwadi Party MP joins BSP, says the government must go


New Delhi : Sending shockwaves in the ranks of the ruling United progressive Alliance (UPA), Samajwadi Party general secretary and spokesman Shahid Siddiqui Saturday announced he was joining the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) as the nuclear deal was “against Muslims”.

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Siddiqui, who went to meet BSP supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati here immediately after coming out of the prime minister’s official residence at 7 Race Course Road, told reporters that he was “feeling suffocated in the party”.

“Since last month, I was feeling suffocated in the party. And I was forced to support the deal. This deal is against the Muslims and India. This deal will make us the slave of the US and lead us to darkness,” said Siddiqui, who was flanked by Mayawati.

“On this nuclear deal, the government must go. I am joining BSP because of my conscience and not because of any underhand dealing,” said the Rajya Sabha MP, who also runs the Urdu daily Nai Duniya.

“I will fight elections under the leadership of ‘behenji’ (Mayawati),” he announced.

Mayawati also denied there was any deal behind Siddiqui’s decision.

“Siddiqui has joined us on his own after seeing our stand on the nuclear deal. We welcome him,” said a beaming Mayawati.

Siddiqui attended the prime minister’s breakfast meeting with newspaper editors. He had gone to the G8 meet in Japan earlier this month, as a member of the media contingent accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on the insistence of party general secretary Amar Singh.

“There has been a lot of pressure from my community. The deal is not in my community’s interest and certainly not India’s,” he said.

“Congress is as bad as BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). I was extremely perturbed for the past one month. I should have resigned much earlier. I was making a compromise and it was against my conscience. Indian Muslims are against George W. Bush.

“I don’t know how many more Samajwadi Party member would join. Everybody should take the stand according to his conscience. In the name of BJP, Muslims have been exploited. We have become bonded labourers,” he said.

Targeting the chief cleric of Jama Masjid Ahmed Bukhari, Siddiqui added: “This man has been deceiving the Muslims. He has taken them for a ride.”

“Going to him is an insult to the Muslim community,” he said, referring to the meeting Samajwadi party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh had with Bukhari Friday, after which Bukhari expressed his support for the deal.