In a bid to refurbish the image of her party, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Saturday expelled nearly 500 Bahujan Samaj Party workers with alleged criminal antecedents and directed the party coordinators to submit another list containing the names of tainted persons on May 13 for further action.

Those ousted from the party belong to 17 divisions of the State as the list of partymen with alleged criminal record from there was found to be correct after a thorough verification of their crime record by the Chief Minister's own sources.

No action has been taken on the list from Mirzapur division, which has been kept in abeyance. But the BSP coordinator for Mirzapur, Narayan Das Ahirwar, was expelled from the party for not complying with the Chief Minister's directives on identifying criminals and anti-social elements in the BSP. He was charged with taking action against party workers without verifying their alleged criminal background.

It is not known whether the 500 party workers expelled by Ms. Mayawati also include some of the “big fish”, but an official statement issued late on Saturday evening said she has directed the party coordinators to “re-examine” the list of big criminals and mafia elements in the BSP and submit it to her on May 13.

She warned the coordinators that persons with a criminal background would not be tolerated in the party as the BSP enjoys a relatively clean image in contrast to other political parties. Ms. Mayawati's action followed a two-hour meeting with zonal party coordinators at her 5 Kalidas Marg official residence. Earlier in the day the Chief Minister had addressed a meeting of her ministers, MLAs, MLCs and party office-bearers. After the meeting with the zonal coordinators, Ms. Mayawati held a separate meeting with senior office-bearers of the BSP Brahmin “Bhaichara Samiti” (Brahmin brotherhood committee), which also continued for close to two hours. BSP general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Satish Chandra Mishra was present.

According to an official spokesman, Mr. Mishra apprised the Chief Minister of steps taken to expand party's Brahmin support base as per her directives.