BSP runs for cover as skeletons tumble out

The skeletons are tumbling out of the corruption cupboard but Uttar Pradesh`s former ruling party, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), is unusually quiet.

Lucknow: The skeletons are tumbling out of the corruption cupboard but Uttar Pradesh`s former ruling party, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), is unusually quiet- not even reacting to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav`s allegation that it was involved in scams of over Rs.40,000 crore.

Akhilesh Yadav late Tuesday accused his predecessor Mayawati of presiding over the plunder of the state and said her government was involved in scams of over Rs.40,000 crore. Instead of giving an angry reaction, as she is prone to, the normally pugnacious Mayawati, who is now in the Rajya Sabha, has been quiet.

And her party has gone into a huddle in the state, trying to fight the growing public perception in the wake of evidence that the Mayawati government was mired in a series of political and financial irregularities.

Even BSP leaders like Mayawati`s close aide Swamy Prasad Maurya, who has been accusing Akhilesh Yadav and his Samajwadi Party (SP) of indulging in political vendetta, has chosen not to speak on the issue.

A senior BSP leader, on condition of anonymity, said that much of the party was still smarting from the debacle in the state assembly polls two months ago and was not mobilised enough to take on the onslaught by the SP government. The party`s tally in the assembly slipped from 206 to a paltry 85.

"Behenji (Mayawati) is sitting in Delhi, attending Parliament, as we are faced with such an attack against us. How do we cope with all this? Nobody knows," a BSP office-bearer said.

The SP is extracting the maximum mileage out of the situation.

Akhilesh Yadav told reporters late Tuesday that scams were being unearthed slowly and steadily and a commission would be constituted soon.

"In days to come you will see many more multi-crore scams being unearthed," he said.

The list of scams is long. To name a few -- the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission scandal, the alleged misappropriation of funds to make gigantic statues of elephants, the BSP`s election symbol, the mismanagement in the purchase of seeds, the Dalit Prerna Sthal park in Noida and more than a dozen others.
"It is beyond doubt that Mayawati had her hands in the loot and I am sure that in due course of time, the long arm of the law will catch up with her and her cronies," Health Minister Ahmad Hasan said.

Akhilesh Yadav has already directed officials to escalate the probe into the sprawling Dalit Prerna Sthal park in Noida, which was inaugurated by Mayawati at the fag end of her five-year term.

The Lokayukta has already given his report against many ministers of the BSP government, said a senior official. The SP government is understood to be on the verge of okaying the demand for a CBI probe against some ministers, he added.
The CBI, for instance, has interrogated former health minister Anant Mishra, aka Antoo, twice. Mishra is a close relative of BSP general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Satish Chandra Mishra, who is known for his proximity to Mayawati.

The noose is slowly tightening around the BSP`s neck and the party may find itself with few friends.

As former chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Rajnath Singh put it:
"If the chief minister alleges that there were scams to the tune of Rs.40,000 crore, we have to take the charge seriously. And the complicity of Mayawati in such scams cannot be ruled out, direct or indirect."