A day after it issued gag orders on its leaders — other than those authorised by party supremo Mulayam Singh — from speaking to the media, the Samajwadi Party (SP) on Saturday distanced itself from the former Rajya Sabha MP, Shahid Siddiqui, and said he was not a member of the party. Mr. Siddiqui, who edits the Urdu weekly Nai Duniya, recently interviewed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The interview was published in the latest edition of the weekly.

Considering that the Muslims supported the SP in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and not wanting to alienate them as it prepares for the Lok Sabha elections, Mr. Modi’s interview by Mr. Siddiqui and his subsequent presence on TV channels irked the party leadership, SP sources said.

Party-hopper

A known party-hopper, Mr. Siddiqui returned to the Samajwadi fold in January 2012 after a stint in the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). He had started his career with the Congress.

Announcing the decision, the national general secretary and national spokesperson of the SP Ram Gopal Yadav said Mr. Siddiqui was not a member of the party and the SP had nothing to do with him. “The Samajwadi Party wants to clarify that Shahid Siddiqui left the party long time ago and joined the BSP and then the RLD.” However, Mr. Siddiqui’s return to the SP this year was not mentioned by Prof. Yadav in the press release issued by him on Saturday. He added that, thus, it was not correct for the media to mention Mr. Siddiqui as a SP leader.

The countdown for his ouster began on Friday when in the gag order, Prof. Yadav said he noticed that some persons, who were not even members of the party, articulating their opinion on TV channels in the name of the party. He said the views expressed by them were their own and could not be considered as the party version. Only four leaders were authorised to speak to the media, namely, SP chief Mulayam Singh, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav and State spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary, Friday’s press release issued by Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav said.

SP sources said Mr. Siddiqui was lobbying for ticket to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh. He unsuccessfully contested the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Bijnor on the BSP ticket before he was expelled from the party.