Garland has BSP spokesman in a bind

According to the BSP sources here, Sharma was not authorised to speak to the media and his interaction amounted to indiscipline and hence action has been taken against him.

Commenting on his expulsion, an upset Sharma said he was being made a “scapegoat”. “I defended Mayawati during my chat with the media and never uttered a word against her,” he said.

Sharma said there was “no internal democracy” in the BSP. “I have been shown the door for talking to the media,” he added. He said he did not attend the meeting in Lucknow though his ticket was booked.

It was claimed that the Karnataka unit of the BSP prepared the garland, which was allegedly made of Rs 1 thousand currency notes and was worth crores of rupees.
On Monday, Sharma had made the disclosure when the party was trying to make out that it was a garland of flowers from the Mysore forests. Opponents demanded a CBI inquiry into the the display of wealth by Mayawati.

Terrible corruption: Cong
Congress general secretary in-charge of UP, Digvijay Singh said Congress does not subscribe to this brazen display of wealth and will oppose this “terrible” corruption.
“Any CM who openly wears a garland of money in this fashion has to be accountable and transparent about where the money came from, from which bank it was withdrawn and who withdrew it,” he said.

Party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said, “This is a vulgar display of money in politics. This is  not good for any political party or a political leader.”Ahmed said Indian tradition and political decorum did not permit such vulgar display of money and muscle power. “She is displaying both,” he said.

While accusing Mayawati of violating basic democratic norms, BJP also taunted Congress, saying it if was serious in its criticism of the BSP chief, then it should refuse the support extended by her to the UPA. “On the one hand the state Government has said it has no money to pay as compensation to the next of kin of those killed in a stampede at Kripalu Maharaj’s ashram, and on the other several crores are being spent to organise rallies to mark BSP’s 25 years,” BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

 Maya orders probe into ‘bee attack’
The swarm of bees, that had come close to attacking BSP supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati during her speech at a rally of party workers here on Monday, is now the target of the Mayawati government.

Irked over being surrounded by the bees and suspecting it to be a conspiracy to disrupt the meeting, Mayawati has ordered the Lucknow Deputy Inspector General of Police Rajiv Krishna to conduct a full-fledged inquiry even as her partymen maintained that it could well be a conspiracy to disrupt the rally.

‘Oppn perturbed by party success’
The garland presented to BSP chief Mayawati was prepared overnight by workers from all divisions with donations, according to  Mayawati’s close confidante and Uttar Pradesh Public Works Minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui The minister said that unlike other political parties the BSP did not receive any fund from industrialists and capitalists and only took contributions from its lakhs of small-time workers.
Siddiqui rejected the criticism from various quarters on the garland controversy saying that the opposition parties were perturbed by the grand success of the Monday rally and hence were indulging in baseless allegations. For a difference there were notes of various denominations in Wednesday’s garland while the garland of Monday had only Rs one thousand denomination notes.
The BSP minister had claimed that there were Rs 21 lakh in the garland in the Monday’s rally and not crores as was being allegedly by the opposition parties. The controversial garland created much heat in political circles with the opposition parties dubbing it as a brazen show of money power and demanding CBI inquiry.
The I-T department has also taken cognisance of the garland and decided to investigate the matter, sources here said.

They plucked money from this Bihar MP
 Taking a cue from the money garland gifted to BSP chief Mayawati, the supporters of suspended Rajya Sabha member Ezaz Ali too presented their leader a garland made of currency notes here on Wednesday.

So far, so good. But the situation took a turn for worse when the hundreds of supporters, who had assembled at the Patna airport to welcome the expelled Janata Dal (United) MP, jostled with each other to pluck the Rs 500 and Rs 100 currency notes attached to the garland. According to a rough estimate, currency notes worth Rs 1 lakh was attached to the garland of marigold.

Ezaz Ali had hogged the limelight earlier this month when he, along with six other MPs from Rajya Sabha, tore the copy of the Women Reservation Bill on the floor of the House demanding a separate quota for Muslim and OBC women. The MP from Bihar was suspended by the Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari for his unruly and unparliamentary behaviour.

Though the suspension of other MPs, who later apologised, was revoked, Ezaz continues to remain under suspension as he refused to tender an apology to the Chair.
Enthused by his ‘heroic act’, hundreds of his supporters from the minority community on Wednesday gathered at the airport to welcome their leader, who was earlier thrown out of JD(U) for anti-party activities.

But even as there was a mad scramble among his supporters to pluck the currency notes, Ezaz showed no sign of remorse. While remaining unapologetic for the shameful incident, he said, “My ardent supporters had collected the money through donations. What’s the harm if they later ‘distributed’ it among themselves.”

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