Under attack from within and outside, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday came out with an apparent face-saver by accepting tainted former Uttar Pradesh minister Babu Singh Kushwaha's offer to keep his party membership in suspension.
"I do not want that as a result of the malicious charges against me, BJP should be made a target of unnecessary controversy. Therefore, till the time the allegations against me are not appropriately resolved, I will keep my membership of BJP under suspension," he said in a letter to BJP president Nitin Gadkari.
Kushwaha's plea for suspension of his membership has been accepted by BJP.
BJP has been under attack from rivals for admitting Kushwaha, a former family welfare minister in the Mayawati-led Uttar Pradesh government, who is an accused in the multi-crore NRHM scam. A number of leaders in the party have expressed reservations over his induction.
Kushwaha's decision came on a day when there were reports that top BJP leaders, including L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Murli Manohar Joshi, will not campaign for candidates with criminal and questionable antecedents.
Reacting to Kushwaha's decision, party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said in New Delhi that he would not be given a ticket or any position in the party till investigations are over in the scam.
But he added that Kushwaha does not want the controversy to linger on.
Kushwaha, in his letter, played the OBC card and said the attack on him was to "suppress" his voice for "exposing a conspiracy to take away 4.5 per cent from backward reservation quota due to a greed for the minority vote bank".
He asked OBC voters to back the BJP to protect the reservation for backward castes.