Kushwahas induction still haunts BJP

Kushwahas induction still haunts BJP

The ghost of the expelled BSP leader and scam tainted former UP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha continues to haunt the BJP, whose dismal performance in the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls was attributed to Kushwaha's last minute induction in the party.

The outgoing state unit chief of the party Surya Pratap Shahi said on Tuesday that he had nothing to do with the entry of Kushawha into the saffron party.

“I was told two hours before the press conference in which Kushwaha’s induction was announced that he is joining the party,” Shahi said.

“As a committed soldier of the party I accepted the decision of the party and announced the decision at the press conference'', he said.

Shahi also denied allegations made by some sections in the party that he had taken money from Kushwaha for allowing him to join the BJP.

“I have not even accepted tea from Kushwaha. I did not even know him before the day he joined”, he clarified.

The outgoing state president said that he did not want to live with the ‘stigma’ (that he had allowed Kushwaha to join the party for money) for the rest of his life. “I may not get another chance to clarify my position and therefore I think it fit to do so now”, he added.

Kushwaha, one of the accused in the multi-crore rural health scam in UP, had joined the BJP days before the state Assembly elections triggering a sharp reaction within the party.

Several top state leaders came down heavily on the central leadership for Kushwaha's entry and even threatened to withdraw from the election campaign.

In fact, a large section of the state BJP feels that Kushwaha was mainly responsible for the dismal performance of the party in the polls. The BJP managed to win only 47 seats, which was three less than the 2007 Assembly elections.

Succumbing to the pressure from the state leadership, Kushwaha later himself announced that he would keep his membership of the party in abeyance till he was cleared in the scam.

The former minister, who had been expelled from the BSP by party supremo Mayawati, is currently in jail in connection with the scam.

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