BSP's rogues gallery expanding fast
TNN, Feb 20, 2011, 01.01am IST
LUCKNOW: Chief minister and BSP supremo Mayawati is facing more
`challenge' from her own party leaders than the Opposition. Over two
dozen BSP MPs, MLAs and ministers have been booked for alleged
criminal activities or in the news for the wrong reasons ever since
Maya came to power in 2007. The latest addition in the list of
`troublemakers' in Behenji's party is MLA from Meerut, Haji Yaqoob
Qureshi, who has been accused of assaulting a policeman.
Qureshi reportedly slapped police constable Chahan Singh Balyan and
tore his uniform when he stopped the MLA's cavalcade to take the route
earmarked for Ravidas Jayanti procession. The Meerut administration
has ordered an inquiry into the matter but no action has been taken
against Qureshi so far. The MLA has denied allegations and said that
the police constable was drunk. However, Opposition parties are on the
streets accusing Maya government of protecting Qureshi.
Qureshi is not new to controversies. In February 2006, he had
announced a cash reward of Rs 51 crore for beheading Danish cartoonist
who made a caricature of Prophet Muhammad. Qureshi was then minister
in Mulayam government.
This is not the first time that a BSP leader has given Opposition
parties an opportunity to attack chief minister. A few days back, two
state government ministers hailing from Aligarh were accused of
kidnapping and murder but were later given clean chit by the police.
Purushottam Naresh, BSP MLA from Banda, is already in jail for
allegedly raping a minor. Another BSP MLA from Etawah and a minister
from Allahabad were recently accused of protecting a rape accused.
Significantly, chief minister has been taking action against her own
party leaders and has warned them against indulging in wrongdoings. On
December 23, 2010, BSP MLA from Dibai, Guddu Pandit, was arrested on
charges of kidnapping block development council members. On December
24, Maya had dropped religious endowment minister Rajesh Tripathi when
he was accused by Lok Ayukta of land-grabbing. On January 13, 2011,
Purushottam Naresh was arrested on charges of rape.
The situation was no different earlier. In May 2007, BSP MP from
Machhalishahr Umakant Yadav was accused of land grabbing. State
minister Anandsen Yadav was sacked after being named in sexual
exploitation and murder of a Dalit girl in November 2007. In December,
2008, MLA Shekhar Tiwari was arrested on charges of murdering a public
works department executive engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta. Another MLA,
Virendra Singh, was accused in the murder of a priest in January 2010.
In May 2010, Maya expelled over 500 members with criminal antecedents
from her party. They included mafia-turned-politicians Mukhtar Ansari
and Aruna Shankar Shukla. She undertook the cleansing exercise after a
gram pradhan Hanuman Shukla was killed by his rivals on April 14,
2010, in Gonda. Shukla was sharing dais with BSP leaders at a function
to mark dalit icon Ambedkar's birth anniversary which led to
embarrassment for chief minister and her government.
But, names of BSP leaders continue to figure in criminal cases. Though
Maya is of the view that a candidate should not be barred from
contesting election on the basis of criminal record, party sources
said that she was taking extra care to verify credentials of
candidates selected for 2012 assembly elections before announcing
their names. "We won in 2007 on law and order issue, hence Behenji
does not want things to go bad in her regime," said a senior BSP
Sources in BSP also said that during her ongoing statewide inspection
drive to assess development work, chief minister is also taking
feedback of the work done in their respective constituencies by BSP
MLAs and prospective candidates short-listed for 2012 assembly
elections. She will go through the reports card based on the feedback
before finalising the tickets. The exercise will begin after
completion of the ongoing inspection drive.
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