Naseemuddin’s Exit May Pave Way for Kushwaha’s Comeback

Lucknow: Naseemuddin Siddiqui’s ouster from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) may pave the way for the comeback of Babu Singh Kushwaha, who is facing corruption charges in the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) scam.

Last week, Siddiqui launched a scathing attack on BSP supremo Mayawati, hours after he and his son were expelled from BSP for anti-party activities.

 Sources say if Kushwaha does indeed come back to the party, it will be Maya’s strongest move against Siddiqui, who, interestingly, was the person who got Kushwaha a job as a telephone operator in the BSP office years ago.
Kushwaha, who like Siddiqui, hails from Banda, joined the BSP in 1995. His meteoric rise included cabinet positions when Mayawati came to power, but his dream run ended when he was named as an accused in the NHRM scam, following which he was shown door by Mayawati.

Kushwaha went on to join Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2012. His induction was however marred by dissent from many within the saffron party regarding his involvement in the NHRM scam, post which he wrote to the top brass to suspend his membership till proven innocent. Undeterred, Kushwaha, floated a new party before the UP assembly elections, Jan Adhikar Manch, but failed to make a mark there too.

Now, with Siddiqui’s ouster, sources say Mayawati might think of bringing back one of her most trusted lieutenants.

“She needs someone she can trust. There is a big chance that Kushwaha might be brought back to the party. But the NHRM taint is a big impediment,” a source told News18.

The NHRM scam was one of the biggest scams to have hit Uttar Pradesh during the BSP regime. Nearly 50 people had died under mysterious circumstances in the scam. The state government had received Rs 8,657 crore under NRHM between 2007 and 2012, but a major chunk of this money was allegedly siphoned by ministers and some officials.

The CBI filed a chargesheet naming Kushwaha in this connection and in 2015 the Enforcement Directorate attached his assets worth Rs 196 crores.

Additionally, an FIR was lodged against Kushwaha in Jhansi last month in an alleged forgery case. The investigation reportedly found that Kushwaha’s educational certificates, including his intermediate and undergraduate marksheets, were forged and he had changed his name in the certificates to contest elections.

Kushwaha’s comeback may raise eyebrows but only few will deny the fact that Mayawati was dependent only on a few people and he was among them. How this will pan out for the party is a pure wait-and-watch game.

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