BJP under fire for inducting Kushwaha

Party tries to save face, says ex-UP minister not in list of candidates

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s decision to induct tainted former UP mi­nister Babu Singh Kushwaha received condemnati­on from friends and foes alike, as the CBI held raids at his residence in the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam on Wednesday. 

“This exposes the opportunistic politics of BJP. Today, they (BJP) have become  the strongest advocate of a man who is accused of having embezzled thousands of crore of the National Rural Health Mission fund,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni. Taking a jibe at veteran BJP leader L K Advani, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said “he (Advani) probably took out a rath yatra looking for such people”.

“Till the time they are in other parties, they are corrupt but the day they join BJP, they have taken a holy dip in the Ganges,” Alvi said after the CBI conducted searches at 60 places, including at the residence of Kushwaha in relation to its probe in alleged irregularities in the Rs 10,000 crore funds allocated under the NRHM when he was a minister in the Mayawati Cabinet.

The Samajwadi Party said taking Kushwaha in its fold has exposed the real face and character of BJP. "The BJP is hand in glove in BSP's corruption. Joining of Kushwaha (with the BJP) has exposed the party's real face and character,” SP spokesman Rajendra Chowdhury said.

Janata Dal (United), an ally of the BJP, also expressed “regret” over Kushwaha’s induction into the party.

“I believe that the tainted people in Uttar Pradesh should not get tickets. As far as BJP is concerned, it is our ally and I regret the development,” JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav said.

In a belated face saving attempt, the BJP confirmed that Kushwaha will not feature in the list of its candidates in UP elections.

“We induct various people into the party ahead of elections. It is not necessary we give them a ticket. In this case, the party is not considering granting him a ticket,” said BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Party insiders say that the announcement came after several party leaders, including Advani, expressed unhappiness over Kushwaha’s induction. Naqvi responded to criticism from BJP’s rivals by accusing the Congress and the BSP of being “hand in glove” with the BSP in misusing the country’s premier investigating agency.

“Congress and BSP have entered into a dangerous alliance in Uttar Pradesh and it has been scripted by Rahul Gandhi and Digvijay Singh personally...The BSP and Congress have entered into a mega deal,” he said.

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