Redfaced BJP says no ticket for Kushwaha

DP

Amid reports of senior BJP leaders, including L K Advani, expressing unhappiness over the induction of tainted ex-BSP leader Babu Singh Kushwaha into the party, the BJP today said that it would neither field him as a candidate nor make him one of its star campaigners in the coming Assembly elections.

The issue was discussed at an informal meeting last night convened by BJP president Nitin Gadkari. While former Uttar Pradesh minister Kushwaha gets to stay in the BJP for now, given that his entry was approved by Gadkari himself, he will not have any important position after the dissatisfaction expressed by senior leaders.

"We induct various people into the party ahead of elections. It is not necessary we give them a ticket. In this case, the party is not considering granting him a ticket," BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters here this afternoon.

Many see a parallel with the induction in the BJP of the controversial D P Yadav in 2004, who was expelled within two days after then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee expressed his reservations.

In Kushwaha's case, voices of protest have been rising in the BJP's Uttar Pradesh unit. BJP state exective member and former minister I P Singh today said Kushwaha was among the most corrupt leaders and should be expelled immediately. He also sought the resignation of state BJP president Surya Pratap Shahi for inducting Kushwaha.

Facing a barrage of questions, Naqvi said the actions of the CBI and other investigative agencies had to be taken with a pinch of salt, questioning the sudden raids on Kushwaha's residence a day after he joined the BJP.

He also claimed that the BJP was not in the business of shielding accused and that its commitment to fighting corruption and scams remained undiluted. "We are always for strong action against any person found to be involved in corruption and criminal activities," he said.

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