Lucknow: The fast exit of UP ministers from Mayawati Cabinet is not coming to an end as 20 ministers have so far been asked to step down following serious charges of corruption and involvement in criminal activities against them since April 2011. Notebly, six of them were shown out door after their indictment by the state Lokayukta. As a result, the state council of ministers is left with only 31 members whereas 26 posts are left vacant.

Again after the recommendations by the state Lokayukta Justice NK Mehrotra for a CBI probe against the high profile member of Mayawati Cabinet, Naseemuddin Siddiqui, the state governemnt faces the looming threat of another head to roll. Siddiqui’s name has figured in a number of corruption cases. 

However, it seems to be very difficult for the Chief Minister to chuck out her most favoured minister Siddiqui as he is seen as the Muslim face of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party.

While the two phases of polling are yet to be held in Muslim-dominated areas of western Uttar Pradesh and Ruhelkhand, it is feared that Siddiqui’s expulsion could dent the poll prospects of BSP in these areas. It is estimated that the population in the region consists of 25 to 50 percent Muslim voters. Although the minister’s reach among the voters is not known, but it is quite clear that he has played a significant role in the party affairs especially in ticket distribution.

His exit may add a jewel in the crown of the party in maintaining a spotless image but subsequent political tremors cannot be ruled out.

Moreover, former cabinet minister Babu Singh Kushwaha and current cabinet minister Naseemuddin were regarded as very close to the BSP supremo. Both were considered to be ‘fund raisers’ of the party and have a long list of allegations of their involvement in land scams. Kushwaha was named in the NRHM scam on April 7 last year after which he was expelled from the party and state Cabinet. 

If the Chief Minister Mayawati accepts the recommendations of the Lokayukta regarding Naseemuddin, it will be like an acceptance of corruption in the state government at the top level. Obviously, this will provide a ripe opportunity to the opposition to target the Chief Minister.

Expelled minister Babu Singh Kushwaha had named Naseemuddin along with Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh and former Principal Secretary Kunwar Fateh Bahadur for threatening his life.

(JPN/Bureau)