Shiv Kanya Kushwaha and Shiv Sharan Kuswaha — the wife and brother of former Minister Babu Singh Kuswaha — were inducted in the Samajwadi Party on Saturday as party chief Mulayam Singh ventured to woo the non-Yadav Backward Castes with an eye on the coming Lok Sabha poll.

Mr. Babu Singh Kushwaha — he was sacked by Ms. Mayawati following allegations of his involvement in the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission scam — is presently lodged in Dasna jail in Ghaziabad. A fortnight ago, the Akhilesh Yadav government allowed the Vigilance Establishment to file an FIR against the former Minister in a disproportionate assets case. The inquiry into the case was conducted by the Lokayukta. Mr. Mulayam Singh himself was to announce the induction of the two new members at a press conference at the party headquarters. However, the party chief decided to stay back at the last minute and instead sent party spokesperson and Prison Minister Rajendra Chaudhary.

Mr. Chaudhary said that the two new inductees’ relationship with Babu Kuswaha by no means disqualified them from joining the party. He added that the SP had always fought for social justice and was against the criminalisation of politics.

The Prison Minister said the two inductees were “social workers” and added that the Samajwadi Party would benefit from their induction. Mr. Chaudhary added that the newcomers had reposed faith in the party’s principles and “in Netaji’s [Mulayam’s] leadership”.