Cong sees Rita link in little-known Bobby’s rise

The Congress is calling his appointment as chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Sugar Corporation, with Minister of State status, as a reward for his role in the arson at Rita Bahuguna Joshi's residence. But Intezar Abidi 'Bobby' denies all such allegations and charges of a criminal past, calling himself a long-time, dedicated BSP member.

He stayed away from office on Monday, to avoid the media. "It is unfortunate. My name is being dragged unnecessarily (into the incident)," he said.

A relatively unknown entity in the state unit of the BSP, Abidi in fact has become a known name since the Congress accused him of being involved in the attack on Joshi's house. His appointment to the sugar corporation, the MoS status and the celebrations on a red-beacon car with hoardes of followers shouting slogans, to some, only confirms those suspicions.

The state government, which made no announcement of Abidi's appointment, however, claimed on Monday that the decision was taken on July 14, a day before the attack on Joshi's residence. In a statement, a government spokesperson said media reports that Abidi was "rewarded" for his alleged role in the attack were baseless, and that the new chairman had officially joined office on July 15 afternoon.

Abidi's last claim to fame was organising a donation of Rs 1 lakh on Mayawati's birthday in 1997, through the "aarthik sahyog (financial aid)" of Rs 50,000 each by her two close aides, Swami Prasad Maurya and Naseemuddin.

A BSc and LLB from Shia Degree College, Abidi belongs to Behara Sadat village of Fatehpur district. While his three elder brothers are all businessmen, he says he is a born politician. "I was born to serve people. It's my full time profession since my student days," he says.

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