More heads may roll in BSP over graft charges

More heads may roll in BSP over graft charges

Citing negative publicity, Maya may cancel candidature of 100 party nominees

Concerned over a ‘negative image’ of the party following allegations of corruption and criminal activities against a large number of party nominees and ministers, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati has been contemplating a major change in the party list.

She could sack more ministers and cancel candidature of around 100 party nominees.
During the past few days, Mayawati had sacked six ministers, including some senior ones, and had also cancelled the candidature of over a dozen party nominees from different constituencies. The nominations of some sitting MLAs had also been cancelled.
If the party sources are to be believed, some more ministers could be sacked in the next few days. Over a dozen ministers are currently being probed by the state Lokayukta over allegations of corruption and criminal activities.

Although the party leaders say the exercise is aimed at selecting the best possible candidate—who could win—sources said the chief minister was ‘very concerned’ over a possible negative fallout of the opposition parties’ campaign against her regime.
“Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has been attacking the government on the issue of corruption…Other parties will also use the Lokayukta’s indictment of the ministers and legislators to hit us in the polls’’, said a BSP leader.

Some party leaders are also concerned over large-scale cancellation of tickets, as it could lead to a rebellion within the party, which had faced a series of desertions in the past few months. According to sources, party Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Agarwal’s son Nitin Agarwal, whose candidature was cancelled at the last moment, was considering joining the Samajwadi Party.

“The situation is such that no candidate, even those whose tickets had been finalised months ago, is now certain that he will be finally contesting the elections’’, quipped another BSP leader.

While many feel Mayawati desperately wanted to purge the party of corrupt and criminal elements, there are others who think otherwise. They cite party tickets given to several axed ‘corrupt’ ministers.

“Rang Nath Mishra was sacked after his indictment by the Lokayukta, but has got a party ticket. Similarly, Anant Mishra was sacked as health minister after his name cropped in the mutli-crore NRHM (National Rural Health Mission) scam… He had been denied nomination, but his wife has got a ticket’’, they pointed out.

Opposition circles would be keenly watching this supposedly cleaning exercise as they could then lap up the prominent BSP rebels. It remains to be seen if the exercise would pay any dividend to Mayawati in the Assembly polls.

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