An undated video has been doing the rounds on social media wherein the Chief Editor of Urdu daily Nai Duniya and former Member of Parliament, Shahid Siddiqui is seen proudly acknowledging that there is not a single madarsa in Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar where he has not given money (presumably from his MPLADS funds.)
In the video that is now making rounds on social media, Siddiqui can be heard clearly flaunting that he has contributed all his funds for development of madarsas, schools and colleges. He then emphasizes how he had helped every single madarsa in Saharanpur. He then says he has given crores of rupees for these institutions.
Though it is unclear when the video was made, however, it must be an old video considering on April 7, 2020, the Modi government had decided to suspend the MPLADS scheme for two years and divert a total of Rs 7,900 crores to the Consolidated Fund of India, in the wake of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak.
“Aap Saharanpur chale jao, aapko ek bhi aisa madarsa nahi milega, yahan Muzaffarnagar mein bhi, jahan maine rupaye nahi diye ho” (There is not even a single madarsa in Saharanpur and even here in Muzaffarnagar where I have not contributed), the former MP is heard boasting.
“Maulana Nasir saheb ko toh maine ek crore diye hain” (I have given one crore to Maulana Nasir Saheb), Siddiqui added.
He further explained that like people look after their children, MPs and MLAs are obligated to take care of the people of their constituency. So, as part of his duty and commitment, because he is answerable to Allah.
The central government funded MPLADS scheme
MPLADS is a centrally-sponsored plan scheme fully funded by the government of India under which funds are released in the form of grants-in-aid directly to the district authorities. The objective of this initiative is to allow Members of Parliament (MPs) to propose and have developmental projects carried out based on locally felt needs.
Under the MPLADS scheme, a total of Rs 5 crores is provided to the Members of the Parliament to suggest development work to the district collector in their respective constituencies. The scheme was formulated in December 1993 and is monitored by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation since 1994.
Shahid Siddiqui and his political turnarounds
The Editor-in-chief of the Urdu daily Nai Duniya Shahid Siddiqui has had a very interesting political career. In the 24-year of being in politics, he has changed his affiliations repeatedly.
Siddiqui, who joined the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) for the second time on June 7, 2021, started his political journey with Congress. He was appointed as the head of the party’s minority cell in 1997. He then joined the Samajwadi Party (SP) in 2002 as its national general secretary.
Siddiqui served in the Rajya Sabha for the Samajwadi Party from 2002 to 2008, but he left the party on July 19, 2008, to join their then arch-rival, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). He resigned from the SP because he refused to vote in favour of the UPA during the nuclear deal’s trust vote.
Siddiqui was, however, dismissed from the BSP on December 14, 2009, after he spoke against Mayawati. Siddiqui was fired just hours after giving an interview to a national English newspaper in which he attempted to portray Mayawati as a dictator.
He joined the RLD in April 2010 following a brief stint with the BSP, claiming he supported then-RLD head Ajit Singh’s demand for the creation of a state of Harit Pradesh.
Siddiqui resigned from the RLD in protest over the party’s partnership with Congress before the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in 2012. He went back to the Samajwadi Party.
After forming the government in 2012, the Samajwadi Party fired Siddiqui in July of that year for interviewing Narendra Modi, who was then the CM of Gujarat.
After his expulsion, Siddiqui cried foul over his removal from the party. He slammed the then SP head Mulayam Singh saying that the latter owed a lot of his popularity to him. He said that when no publication was ready to write in favour of Malayam Singh, it was his Nai Duniya that had written in his support.
Nevertheless, after being ousted from the SP, it is believed that Siddiqui stayed away from politics for a while, until, one fine day, he announced his support to Aam Aadmi Party. He claimed he was not joining the party but had extended support the party’s campaign. He had urged all Delhites to vote for AAP.
Support AAP in all 7 seats of Delhi. My appeal to people of Delhi. Even BJP & Congress supporters should back candidates like Aatshi. Voice of Delhi in Parliament should be strong for a full statehood to Delhi. @ArvindKejriwal @SanjayAzadSln @AAPDelhi @AtishiAAP @AamAadmiParty pic.twitter.com/OSa7YZZBPN— shahid siddiqui (@shahid_siddiqui) April 27, 2019
The next year, Siddiqui, very much in line with his past and present allies, was seen sharing fake news in a bid to malign the Modi government. In May 2020, when India was grappling with the first wave of the Wuhan coronavirus, Shahid Siddiqui shared a 2016 video from Bangladesh as that of India’s migrant crisis.
It’s surprising that a person, who until a few years earlier was taking pride in sharing pictures with Narendra Modi, had suddenly taken a U-turn to criticise his government.
Interestingly, almost during the same time, even the Congress party had tried to pass off an image from Bangladesh as that of Indian migrant workers suffering due to lockdown.
And before one could know it, the journalist was seen heaping praises for Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Twitter. It may be noted, that for all these years, Siddiqui had been a vocal critic of the Congress party.
However, on April 27, 2021, he took to Twitter to thank senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi for securing Covid-19 drug Remdesivir for him after reading his plea for help on Twitter. Shahid Siddiqui also revealed that Priyanka Gandhi did not want him to thank her publicly for it but he did anyway because he wanted to express his gratitude towards her. The revelation came at a time when people were being advised not to hoard Remdesivir.