Rationale of embracing discards questioned

There was no end to the woes of the BJP over induction of former BSP Ministers from Uttar Pradesh in general and Babu Singh Kushwaha in particular. More party leaders on Friday joined the ranks of dissenters.

Questioning the rationale of embracing those thrown out by other parties, BJP parliamentarian from Aaonla in U.P., Maneka Gandhi, said it did not augur well for the party. Further, she complained that the decision was taken without consulting anyone. Two other party leaders Yogi Adityanath and Kirti Azad have already expressed their opposition to the move.

Frenzied electronic media reports since morning on the basis of remarks made by Uma Bharati that she would air her views in the party forums on the Kushwaha episode or any other subject further confounded the confusion in the party rank and file.

Ms. Bharati, who was taken back into the party recently after nearly six years of separation and drafted as a star campaigner for the U.P. election, issued a brief statement here denying reports that she had halted her campaign in protest against the association of the party with the likes of Kushwaha.

Maintaining that no political meaning should be read into her remarks on Mr. Kushwaha, Ms. Bharati said that she would be busy in the election campaign for the next four days. Intriguingly, she added, “My next phase of programme would be decided by the party in consultation with me.”

The party on its part has decided to brazen it out and this was evident from categorical assertion by BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman that there were no differences in the ranks over Mr. Kushwaha.

At a news conference here, Ms. Sitharaman argued that admission of political entities facing charges could not be construed as the party coming in the way of law. She maintained that if Mr. Kushwaha and other OBC leaders came into the party they would be welcomed but the party would not “protect” them from the law.

She reasoned, “There is a pattern emerging in which the OBCs are being denied their due.” Mr. Kushwaha is seen as an influential leader among backwards in pockets of U.P.

The spin in defence of getting Mr. Kushwaha and his ilk on board by the party managers is that it will help in garnering support from the Other Backward Classes (OBCs). They reckon that the combination of upper caste and non-Yadav OBC votes will help boost party prospects in the elections.

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