Wednesday, February 1, 2012

[ZESTCaste] ‘I was like a pawn guarding wazir’: Kushwaha points fingers at Maya

'I was like a pawn guarding wazir': Kushwaha points fingers at Maya
D K Singh Posted online: Tue Jan 31 2012, 23:30 hrs
Gorakhpur : Forced out of ministership and the coming elections over
his alleged role in Uttar Pradesh's NRHM scam, Babu Singh Kushwaha has
pointed fingers at Chief Minister Mayawati, pointing out that she was
in-charge of the Family Welfare Department before he took over.

Once Mayawati's backroom boy, Kushwaha, who had to resign as Family
Welfare Minister over the National Rural Health Mission scandal, also
alleged a conspiracy behind his removal. "The BSP leadership has this
character that they put a plant in the pot and pull it out every
morning to check if it is growing roots. In my case, it was probably
felt that I was growing roots... I was in the BSP for 27 years. I was
with her (Mayawati) for 17-18 years. I was working like a personal
servant and worker of the BSP neta. There was no let-up in my loyalty.
Have you played chess? An officer told me that I was like a pawn
guarding a wazir. Some people planted the idea that the pawn was just
a step away from wazir and the latter got convinced of it."

Talking to The Indian Express here, Kushwaha said: "The NRHM started
in 2005-06 in the Mulayam Singh government time. In these six years, I
was family welfare minister for less than two years — from May 2009 to
April 2011. How come only my name has been dragged? Before me, she
(Mayawati) was in charge... but entire talk is about my tenure and
nothing about others. UP bureaucrats including Shashank Shekhar and
Fateh Bahadur and Naseemuddin Siddiqui did it under a conspiracy."

The Comptroller and Auditor General incidentally conducted performance
audit of the NRHM from 2005 to 2011. About his own role, Kushwaha
says, "The CAG has called it a procedural mistake; it didn't say a
scam. To my knowledge, no file came to me and there was no signature
of mine... But if there is any signature, it must have been

"The NRHM was an excuse to sideline me," Kushwaha says. "How come
these incidents (alleged murders of those linked with the NRHM scam)
only took place in the capital (Lucknow), while you have media

He sees a conspiracy to clip his wings as an OBC leader. "It started
within two-three months of the 2009 parliamentary elections. I could
sense that they were cutting me step-by-step. My removal was not
sudden." If the CBI had not got involved, Kushwaha adds, "the state
government could have long ago made me Dr Sachan (an NRHM accused who
was found dead)".

Kushwaha asks why he kept being targeted even after he had resigned as
minister. "I started looking after party affairs but that was also
taken away. Siddiqui, Shashank Singh and Fateh Bahadur opened a
counter to get cases registered against me and those who did were
rewarded with chairmen's posts and party tickets. For instance,
Brijmohan Kushwaha had got an FIR registerd against me. He was made
chairman and now given the party ticket. Another minister (Medical &
Health Minister Anant Kumar Mishra) had resigned along with me; his
wife has been given a ticket."

According to him, when he told Mayawati he was being framed, "She said
I should not make enemies and she would take care of it."

Notwithstanding the corruption charges against him, Kushwaha, whose
community constitutes about 8.5 per cent of the electorate, is in huge
demand among BJP candidates. Asked about the controversy following his
induction into the party, forcing him to give up BJP membership,
Kushwaha says: "I worked for the BSP for 27 years and this happened...
But I was in the BJP for three days and they fought for me. The BJP
didn't say no to me. I wrote a letter to Gadkariji that my membership
should be suspended to avoid any controversy. I oppose 4.5 per cent
sub-quota for Muslims from within the 27 per cent OBC quota. The BJP
also opposes it."

He has a stock message to OBC supporters at election meetings: "While
I was still in the BSP, there were attempts to demolish my house and
my school and cases were filed against me and my supporters in Banda,
Faizabad, Allahabad, Jhansi... If you vote for the BSP, you know who
will form the government and then what will be meted out to me."

Asked about his future plans, Kushwaha says with a wry smile:
"Powerful people in the government have made such a plan for me that
it will take me a long time to plan my future. I became a victim in
filmi style. Investigations are on. I will be able to say many things
after it is over."


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