Tainted Politician’s Entry Embarrasses BJP


New Delhi: Divisions appeared in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday with opposition within the ranks as well as from the allies to the induction of a scam-accused former Uttar Pradesh minister even as the Congress sharpened its attack, questioning the purpose of party veteran L.K. Advani’s anti-corruption ‘rath yatra’.

Party leaders, including party chief Nitin Gadkari, maintained a studded silence on the issue.

The strongest attack on the BJP came from its mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which urged the people of Uttar Pradesh not to vote for “party hoppers and tainted people”.

While RSS mouthpiece ‘Panchajanya’ snubbed the saffron party for inducting Babu Ram Kushwaha, spokesperson Ram Madhav said the BJP should not ignore the issue of tainted candidates. 

Safrron-clad BJP MP, Yogi Adityanath, feared the party could face the consequences at the hustings in February.

”The corrupt leaders in Mayawati’s and Mulayam Singh Yadav’s parties are being taken in the BJP keeping in mind UP Assembly elections. This could prove harmful for the party,” Adityanath, the MP from Gorakhpur, told a TV news channel from the eastern Uttar Pradesh city. 

”How can a person, who was corrupt in Mulayam and Mayawati’s party, become clean after joining BJP,” he questioned. 

The BJP’s central leadership evaded questions on the issue. 

Party leader Arun Jaitley refused to answer any questions when asked about Kushwaha as he came out after meeting President Pratibha Patil on the Lokpal bill.

Gadkari, who was in Jhansi to address an election rally in the heart of the Bundelkhand region here, not only shunned even a passing reference to Kushwaha, who until Wednesday was described by party leaders as a “prominent OBC (Other backward class) leader from Bundelkhand,” but also parried queries by media persons on the issue.

Meanwhile, Janata Dal-United leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said his party was opposed allowing tainted leaders in.

”There are differences within the party (BJP) on how this issue has to be handled, so we have to see what their final decision is. But it is not a good tradition, people will not like it,” he said. 

The Congress continued its attack on the BJP on the issue. 

Taking a dig at the party, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said the BJP was like the River Ganga and corrupt people could be purified by sending them to the party.

”If BJP is like Ganga, what is the need for Janlokpal. Send all corrupt people to BJP,” he said.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, V. Narayanasamy questioned the anti-corruption campaign led by Advani in 2011.

”The BJP has been telling that they are for anti-corruption initiative, Advani was going for ‘rath yatra’ to curb corruption… and their party is taking corrupt people with them,” Narayanasamy said.

”This makes it clear that they preach sermons to others, it does not apply to them.” 

Taking the controversy to the Anna Hazare camp, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi questioned his team’s silence on the issue.

”Why is Team Anna silent on Babu Singh issue,” he asked, adding: “While they were saying they will campaign against Congress, they have not uttered a single word on BJP.” 

Kushwaha joined BJP Tuesday after he was thrown out of his party on corruption charges. He has allegedly been involved in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam in the state and has been named in an FIR on the scam by Central Bureau of Investigation.

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