New Delhi: The chasm within BJP on the induction of tainted former BSP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha widened on Friday with more leaders from within attacking the decision with one of them even threatening to quit the party. However, BJP put up a brave face saying the decision to admit Kushwaha, who faces corruption charges in the multi- crore NRHM scam, saying it was "not a hasty" step.
In a damage control exercise, party president Nitin Gadkari is in touch with leaders like Yogi Adityanath, Maneka Gandhi, Kirti Azad and others who have opposed Kushwaha's induction.
Uma Bharti, one of the leading campaigners for the party in Uttar Pradesh, is also said to have expressed reservations over Kushwaha's induction but the party dismissed reports that she is sulking.
"Neither was she angry then nor is she angry now...She will indeed be campaigning for the party in UP," party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Adityanath, who is strongly opposed to the decision, warned the BJP central leadership that he would disassociate himself from the party if it continues to induct tainted leaders and ministers expelled from BSP or any other party.
He told reporters in Gorakhpur that the party has inducted expelled ministers from BSP who would have been implicated as "culprits of deaths of hundreds of children in Eastern UP due to encephalitis".
He said while BJP was fighting in and outside the Parliament for an effective Lokpal Bill to curb corruption, it will not pay to induct the persons who are directly involved in it.
Another MP Maneka Gandhi also criticised the decision, a day after leaders like Adityanath and Azad openly opposed the move to bring into the party fold a man the party was targeting for involvement in the NRHM scam.
"Taking into the party people who have been thrown out by BSP does not show us in good light. Nobody was consulted before inducting him. These leaders were reaping illegal benefits as ministers and no work was done," Gandhi said.
At the party briefing, Sitharaman faced a volley of questions on the issue.
"One can definitely not call the decision to induct Babu Singh Kushwaha a hasty decision. I can assure that this was not at all a hasty decision," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
BJP is also playing the OBC card, painting Kushwaha as a victim of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's politics.
Sources said BJP feels that after Kushwaha was sacked, the welcome extended to him by the party will win it the sympathy votes of Kushwahas, Mauryas, Koeris and other Most Backward Castes in UP.
"Kushwaha represents a very backward class community. He has come into the party and we have welcomed him... SP, BSP and Congress are not serving the MBCs. They are engaged in minority appeasement while OBCs feel their rights are being taken away," Sitharaman said.
Wary of the allegations being levelled against it of welcoming the corrupt within its fold, BJP also made it clear it would not stand in the way of law.
"Kushwaha's induction into BJP is no immunity to him from the law. We have not said we will be giving him cover. Law will take its course," Sitharaman said.
While sticking to his decision, Gadkari intends to give these leaders a hearing and emphasise on why Kushwaha, an OBC leader, has been brought to the party-fold ahead of UP assembly polls.
New Delhi: The chasm within BJP on the induction of tainted former BSP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha widened on Friday with more leaders from within attacking the decision with one of them even threatening to quit the party.
However, BJP put up a brave face saying the decision to admit Kushwaha, who faces corruption charges in the multi- crore NRHM scam, saying it was "not a hasty" step.