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10 days, 10 ministers sacked: Maya behenji out on image makeover

Last updated on: January 2, 2012 16:34 IST

Maya behenji out on image makeover

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow

The sacking of 10 ministers over the past 10 days by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has not only created a record of sorts, but more importantly, it is now being seen as her image makeover exercise ahead of the state assembly elections next month. Sharat Pradhan reports from Lucknow.

 

Even earlier, in the preceding four years, Mayawati had shown the door to nearly 15 ministers for different reasons, but the ones to go now were largely because of corruption charges.

 

"The chief minister decided to drop some ministers essentially because of their alleged involvement in irregularities, including misuse of office for their personal gains," said a ruling Bahujan Samaj Party party spokesman, who preferred not to be named.

 

Some of these ministers were also indicted by the state Lokayukta for their involvement in corrupt activities and Mayawati's prompt action against them was clearly aimed at sending the message around that she was a no-nonsense chief minister.

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"The chief minister does not believe in sparing anyone -- no matter how high or mighty -- one he is found to be guilty of committing irregularities, particularly in financial matters," the spokesman said.

 

While the image building exercise was being masterminded by a Delhi-based high profile advertisement and marketing company, the action against ministers also followed complaints from people living in the respective constituencies of the ministers.

 

Reports received from BSP coordinators from different regions initially prompted Mayawati to first deny a party ticket to these ministers from their respective constituencies.

"Further inquiries revealed that these ministers had also been misusing their offices for their personal gains and for benefitting their near and dear ones; some of them had also started indulging in anti-party activities by hobnobbing with rival political parties; therefore action became imminent against them," he added.

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Asked why the corrupt activities of these ministers were ignored over the past five years, the spokesman shot back, "Action could have followed only when Behenji would get to know about their activities."

 

One of the sacked ministers, accused of corruption, however, maintained: "This was just a wishy-washy sham to give the impression that this chief minister believed in clean governance, when the whole world knows how many scams she was herself involved."

 

Another recently fired minister, Fateh Bahadur Singh went on to ask, "If corruption was really an issue with Mayawati, then why was the most corrupt minster entrusted with as many as 18 portfolios?"

 

His obvious reference was to Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who was not only handling the state's most lucrative ministries but who was also facing a probe by the Lokayukta.

 

BSP leader and until recently the party's general secretary, Naresh Agrawal, who recently switched loyalties to the Samajwadi Party, felt: "All the action against ministers was just an eyewash to impress the people of the state that she was ready to sacrifice even her close ones if they were found guilty of corrupt practices."  

He, however, wonders as to how many people would buy this. 

"Who does not know that Mayawati and corruption are inseparab#8804 the voter is not a fool and can clearly see through her game," he quipped.

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