A day after announcing it would never accept the chors that Mayawati had discarded,the BJP welcomed to its fold Babu Singh Kushwaha,the former BSP family welfare minister on whose watch two chief medical officers were murdered,a deputy CMO died mysteriously in jail,and fraud worth thousands of crores was detected in the implementation of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in Uttar Pradesh.
Former labour minister Badshah Singh,sacked by Mayawati in October after he was indicted by Lokayukta N K Mehrotra for land-grab and operating under two names,also joined the BJP in Delhi today.
The BJP embraced the tainted duo hours after releasing,late on Monday,a list of candidates for the Assembly elections that featured Daddan Mishra and Awadhesh Kumar Verma both former Mayawati ministers.
Former ayurveda minister Mishra resigned a few days ago after he was denied the BSP ticket,allegedly following adverse reports from his constituency. Verma was sacked as backward classes welfare minister on December 25 after complaints that he was unresponsive to peoples grievances.
Mishra is the BJP candidate in Bhinga; Verma in Dadraul. Both joined the BJP only yesterday.
Kushwaha and Singh were welcomed at the BJP headquarters in Delhi by the partys UP president Surya Pratap Shahi and national vice-president Vinay Katiyar. Kushwaha,who was expelled from the BSP on November 28 for anti-party activity had been pretty much a political pariah since then,having been rebuffed by both the Congress and the Samajwadi Party,parties he first tried to join.
The development appeared to have taken BJP leaders by surprise in Lucknow. Immediately after the news came in,senior leaders left the party office here and made themselves unavailable to reporters.
BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had only yesterday compared Mayawati and her ministers to Alibaba and 40 thieves,and declared the BJP would never accept them. We want chowkidars,nor chors, he had said.
And on December 31,party secretary Kirit Somaiya had alleged that Kushwaha and members of his family were partners with Mayawatis family in 24 bogus companies floated to launder dirty money made in scams in National Rural Health Mission and land allotments in NOIDA.
Party spokesperson Hriday Narain Dixit,the only state BJP leader who could be reached,defended the induction of Kushwaha and Singh saying they could have conducted irregularities under the pressure of the chief minister. The BJP is not giving them a clean chit,will respect any decision of the law and constitution against them.
Senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh argued that Kushwaha and Singh had given up their ministries not after any proved charges,but on moral grounds. Unhone naitikta ke aadhar par apna istifa diya tha. Yeh baat to khud Mayawati ne sweekar kiya tha, he said. He rejected the contention that BJP ranks in the state were upset over the decision.
Both Kushwaha and Singh belong to Bundelkhand,where the BJP might be looking for gains. However,the party has also been claiming a boost in Bundelkhand from the return of Uma Bharti,who belongs to the Madhya Pradesh part of region. Also,Kushwaha has never contested an election; he is a member of the legislative council.
Kushwaha has been looking desperately for a political platform ever since CBI started tightening the screws on him. The agency,which is investigating the CMO deaths and the NRHM scam on the orders of Allahabad High Court,has questioned him once,and told him to be ready for another round between January 6 and 10.
Besides Daddan Mishra and Awadhesh Kumar Verma,the BJP list announced late last night contains several other party-hoppers. Bahoran Lal Maurya,who has got the Bhijpura ticket,left the BSP to join the BJP about two months ago. Maurya was a minister in Kalyan Singhs government before joining the BSP. He returned in 2007,only to go back to the BSP.
Meerganj candidate D C Verma had won as BSP candidate in 2007 but was later expelled by Mayawati. Manish Ashija (Firozabad) joined the BJP from BSP in August. Dal Bahadur Kori (Salon,Reserved) left the Congress two months ago. Narottam Das Munna (Nawabganj) came over from the BSP a few weeks ago.
Rajesh Yadav (Gunnaur) was with SP until seven months ago. Dal Singh Yadav (Jalalabad) switched from SP in October,while Kailash Sagar (Bisauli,Reserved) came across from SP only a few weeks ago.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said,The party has given tickets to winnable candidates to uproot the corrupt BSP government. There is no major resentment among party workers and they will support all candidates.