BJP’s ‘Kushwaha gamble’ backfires

With its decision to induct Babu Singh Kushwaha-NHRM scam accused and ex-minister in Mayawati’s cabinet- into the party, BJP’s anti-corruption campaign targeting the UPA government has suffered a serious blow.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: With BJP’s decision to induct Babu Singh Kushwaha-NHRM scam accused and ex-minister in Mayawati’s cabinet- into the party backfiring, its anti-corruption campaign targeting the UPA government has suffered a serious blow.

Reports, Thursday, claimed that main opposition party is in a fix as the dissent among its ranks is increasing against the induction of two tainted ministers, sacked by Mayawati, in the party fold.

With BJP’s political opponents slamming its double speak on graft, its own leaders have now started to voice their displeasure against the decision, widely perceived to have been taken by party president Nitin Gadkari.

The controversy over the induction of Babu Singh Kushwaha and Badshah Singh has divided the BJP into two camps. One is supporting Gadkari on the grounds of “social engineering” and the other against it, believing it will damage the party’s high decibel anti-graft campaign.

Sources claim that the decision to induct Kushwaha and Singh was taken by BJP’s state unit in consultation with president Gadkari without taking many senior leaders including LK Advani into confidence.

Apart from Advani, many other senior BJP leaders are upset and angry over the matter. Party leaders feel that by inducting the tainted ministers, the plan to target Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress on the issue of corruption has become untenable.

Apparently, jittery over the adverse fallout of the induction of these ministers, the party has denied ticket to Kushwaha and Singh and said that they will not be part of its poll campaign in UP.

A final decision on Kushwaha’s future may be taken at a crucial meeting of the party currently underway at Gadkari’s residence.

Kushwaha is facing a CBI inquiry in the NRHM scam in which two CMOs were murdered while Deputy CMO Y S Sachan, who was arrested for his alleged involvement in their murders, was found dead in mysterious circumstances in jail. The CBI on Wednesday conducted multiple raids at Kushwaha’s residences and lodged its first FIR in the case.

Meanwhile, Singh was the Labour Minister and was removed after UP Lokayukta served him a notice for allegedly committing financial irregularities.

What apparently evoked BJP’s interest in him was his considerable clout in the Bundelkhand region which is otherwise known as a BSP bastion.
Aware of the cold calculation of caste politics, BJP hoped to gain from Kushwaha’s influence in the backward classes (OBC). The BJP hoped to get the non-Yadav OBC vote, especially after the OBCs lost some of their quota to backwards among minorities. On the other hand, Singh is a Thakur from Bundelkhand, where Rahul Gandhi is trying to gain a foothold and which is also an area Mayawati has promised will be given full statehood in her plan to split UP into four parts.

However, in view of the controversy over their induction, it now appears that BJP’s gains are minuscule compared to the damage done to party’s image.
Taking advantage of the situation, Congress has stepped up attack on BJP over induction of Kushwaha and Singh questioning the opposition`s party credentials to take up the corruption issue.

Dismissing BJP`s attack on Congress on induction of Kushwaha, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said "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."

She said BJP and BSP had come together in the past also and "this time also there seems to be an understanding that those who cannot get tickets in BSP are fielded by BJP".

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