Kushwaha kin entry creates rift in SP

Kushwaha kin entry creates rift in SP

Prime accused in the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam and former Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Babu Singh Kushwaha’s wife, Shivkanya, and brother Shiv Charan on Saturday joined the Samajwadi Party (SP).

The entry of the scam-tainted former BSP leader’s family into the SP has not only created a rift within the party but has also sent senior leaders, including party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, ducking for cover as Opposition parties launched an all-out attack.

Interestingly, Mulayam was supposed to announce the entry of Kushwaha’s wife and brother before the media, but he later deputed SP spokesperson and state minister Rajendra Chaudhary to handle the event.

SP sources said Shivkanya could be given the party ticket for the Ghazipur Lok Sabha seat, though no leader was ready to confirm.

“Their induction will strengthen the party,” Chaudhary said as he faced a barrage of questions from the media.

Chaudhary, who had barely a few months ago, criticised the BJP for inducting Kushwaha during last year’s Assembly poll, was at a loss to answer questions. He was visibly upset at being cornered.

He lost his cool when he was asked whether the duo was the family of the same Babu Singh Kushwaha who was in jail on a charge of corruption. Chaudhary shot back: “Is it a crime to be the brother or wife of Babu Singh Kushwaha? Have they committed any crime?” .

Kushwaha is currently lodged in jail in connection with the multi-crore NRHM scam.
He was family welfare minister in the previous Mayawati regime and had later been expelled from the party.

There was opposition to the entry of Kushwaha’s kin even within the SP. “The induction of Kushwaha’s wife and brother will send a wrong message. It shows that the party is not serious about fighting corruption,” SP leader Vinod Pandey said.
Another senior SP leader also decried the induction saying that the party had promised to the people in last year’s elections that it would take action against corrupt BSP leaders.

The Opposition, too, latched on to the opportunity. “It appears that the SP will be inducting all those leaders whom it once called corrupt,” said BSP leader Swami Prasad Maurya.

Though the Congress termed it an internal matter of the SP, it said the party was against encouraging corrupt leaders.

The Akhilesh Yadav regime had earlier shown its reluctance in taking action against tainted officials. It did not suspend the then health secretary and one of the prime accused in the multi-crore NRHM scam, Pradeep Shukla, though he had been arrested by the CBI.

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