Lokpal season: BJP eats words, welcomes BSPís most tainted

FP

A day after announcing it would never accept the "chors" that Mayawati had discarded, the BJP welcomed to its fold Babu Singh Kushwaha, the former BSP family welfare minister on whose watch two chief medical officers were murdered, a deputy CMO died mysteriously in jail, and fraud worth thousands of crores was detected in the implementation of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in Uttar Pradesh.

Former labour minister Badshah Singh, sacked by Mayawati in October after he was indicted by Lokayukta N K Mehrotra for land-grab and operating under two names, also joined the BJP in Delhi today.

The BJP embraced the tainted duo hours after releasing, late on Monday, a list of candidates for the Assembly elections that featured Daddan Mishra and Awadhesh Kumar Verma ó both former Mayawati ministers.

Former ayurveda minister Mishra resigned a few days ago after he was denied the BSP ticket, allegedly following adverse reports from his constituency. Verma was sacked as backward classes welfare minister on December 25 after complaints that he was unresponsive to people's grievances.

Mishra is the BJP candidate in Bhinga; Verma in Dadraul. Both joined the BJP only yesterday.

Kushwaha and Singh were welcomed at the BJP headquarters in Delhi by the party's UP president Surya Pratap Shahi and national vice-president Vinay Katiyar. Kushwaha, who was expelled from the BSP on November 28 for "anti-party activity" had been pretty much a political pariah since then, having been rebuffed by both the Congress and the Samajwadi Party, parties he first tried to join.

The development appeared to have taken BJP leaders by surprise in Lucknow. Immediately after the news came in, senior leaders left the party office here and made themselves unavailable to reporters.

BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had only yesterday compared Mayawati and her ministers to Alibaba and 40 thieves, and declared the BJP would never accept them. "We want chowkidars, nor chors," he had said.

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