Sacked Mayawati Ministers find refuge in BJP camp
Two of them get BJP ticket for U.P. Assembly polls
The controversial former Ministers of the Mayawati government have found refuge in the Bharatiya Janata Party, which till recently ran a campaign against corruption in the Bahujan Samaj Party regime and even accused the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and her family members of graft.
After inducting the former Minister of State for Ayurveda, Daddan Mishra, and the former Minister of State (independent charge) for Backward Classes Welfare, Avdhesh Kumar Verma, on Monday, both of whom were given ticket for the coming Assembly elections, the BJP on Tuesday admitted the former Family Welfare Minister, Babu Singh Kushwaha, and the former Labour Minister, Badshah Singh.
Three of the four Ministers were sacked by the Chief Minister and Mr. Kushwaha and Mr. Singh were also suspended from the BSP on various charges, including graft. The former Minister, Fateh Bahadur Singh, dismissed by Ms. Mayawati in December-end on alleged corruption charges, is also likely to join the BJP.
Once considered a close aide of Ms. Mayawati, Mr. Kushwaha was asked to resign by the Chief Minister in the wake of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam. The detection of the scam was preceded by the murder of two Chief Medical Officers of the Family Welfare Department in October 2010 and April 2011. The mysterious death of the deputy CMO of the same department, Y.S. Sachan, in the Lucknow district jail in June 2011 added another twist to the murky tale.
Since Mr. Kushwaha's name figured in the NRHM scandal, Ms. Mayawati banned him from attending party functions. With the Central Bureau of Investigation taking over the case, the former Minister was quizzed for about eight hours in Delhi recently.
Interestingly, the BJP's national secretary and convenor of the party's corruption expose committee Kirit Somaiya alleged, at a press conference in Lucknow on December 31, that 24 companies were in the names of Mr. Kushwaha's family members. Alleging that the fresh scam accounted for Rs. 10,000 crore, Mr. Somaiya said the file had been submitted to the CBI in Delhi. Mr. Somaiya earlier released a booklet and a CD related to the alleged corruption charges against the BSP government. He charged that several bogus firms had been floated by Ms. Mayawati and BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra's family members.
While Mr. Kushwaha is an (BSP) MLC, the names of two other former Ministers, Mr. Mishra and Mr. Verma, figured in the list of the 81 BJP candidates released in Delhi on Monday night. While, Mr. Mishra, a sitting MLA from Bhinga in Shravasti district (he won the seat on BSP ticket in 2007), has been fielded in the constituency, Mr. Verma was named BJP candidate from Dadraul in Shahjahanpur district. Mr. Mishra quit the BSP and the government after he was denied ticket by Ms. Mayawati. His resignation as Minister was accepted by Governor B.L. Joshi on Monday.An enquiry had been instituted by Lokayukta N.K. Mehrotra against Mr. Badshah Singh into charges of acquiring assets disproportionate to his income and other allegations. Mr. Singh was sacked by Ms. Mayawati and later suspended from the BSP. The former Minister, who was earlier in the BJP before he came to the BSP, is the sitting MLA from Maudaha in Hamirpur district, is likely to be nominated in the same constituency