aarchana srivastava
LUCKNOW, 13 JULY: For a party which promised a squeaky clean governance and spoke vehemently against the criminalisation of politics if voted to power, the induction of the wife and brother of tainted former BSP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha (currently lodged in the Ghaziabad Dasna jail) into the Samajwadi Party on Saturday is indicative of which way the party is headed in its pursuit of caste-based politics in the run up to the 2014 election.
Technically, the SP has taken the stand that Shivkanya Kushwaha (wife) and Shiv Sharan Kushwaha’s (brother) close  link to Babu Singh Kushwaha (file photo) does not disqualify them from being a part of the Samajwadi andolan. The ground realities however tell a different story. They reveal the compulsions which have forced the SP to induct the kin of a former minister against whom, none other than the Akhilesh Yadav government, had ordered inquiries and recommended the filing of an FIR.
That the decision is a controversial one became apparent when the SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav shied away from addressing the scheduled Press conference on Shivkanya and Shiv Sharan’s induction. He ironically sent the minister for jail Rajendra Chowdhary (under whose jurisdiction the Dasna jail comes) to make the announcement and field the media queries. Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav instead chose to stay put in his room in the party headquarters during the course of the press meet.
To the uninitiated Babu Singh Kushwaha was once the all powerful minister in former chief minister Mayawati’s Cabinet. He was also her very trusted aide who held  important portfolios like family welfare and mining.While murmurs had reached a crescendo about the goings on in the two ministries headed by him , Kushwaha’a downfall began following the murders of two Chief Medical Officers Vinod Ayra and BP Singh in broad daylight in the state capital. The Opposition onslaught in the wake of the murders and the alleged irregularities in the National Rural Health Mission led Miss Mayawati to take Kushwaha’s resignation along with that of the then Health minister Anant Kumar Mishra. After a few months, he was sacked from the BSP by Miss Mayawati.
Kushwaha made an entry into the BJP shortly before the 2012 Vidhan Sabha polls. The inner storm which Kushwaha’s entry created within the party led the BJP to expel him shortly afterwards. After floating a non- descript ‘Jan Adhikar Manch’ party the former minister is presently in the Dasna jail after being arrested by the CBI in the NRHM scam.
Mulayam’s induction of Kushwaha’s kin into the SP has as much to do with his caste based politics as with the  entry of Mr Narendra Modi into the political arena of Uttar Pradesh.