Lucknow: Cracking the whip on party workers with criminal backgrounds, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati Saturday ordered the expulsion of around 500 party activists, sources said.
Significantly, the cleansing operation exempted legislators, MPs or prominent party leaders facing criminal charges, the sources added.
"The majority of those suspended are ordinary-level party workers," a BSO office bearer told agency, requesting anonymity.
"The activists who have been shown the door include Mukhtar Ansari and Afzal Ansari. Both of them have already been expelled from the party," he added.
Mayawati April 16 had expelled the Ansari brothers for their alleged involvement in criminal activities.
Afzal and Mukhtar are in jail in connection with the murder of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Krishnanand Rai, who was gunned down in a broad daylight ambush near Allahabad in November 2005.
The decision to expel around 500 party activists was taken by Mayawati late Saturday evening during a meeting with BSP office bearers.
Meanwhile, BSP opponents have termed the cleansing operation merely "an eyewash to win the confidence of the people".
"The point to be noted is that the action has been taken against ordinary workers. She (Mayawati) just cannot afford to take action against MLAs or MPs as it would disintegrate her party," state BJP spokesperson H.N. Dixit told reporters here.
Echoing similar views, Congress` state spokesperson Alkhilesh Pratap Singh said: "It`s just drama...Mayawati just cannot eliminate senior members, ministers and MLAs facing criminal charges because she knows very well that the move will break the party and she would not be able to rule the state."