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Mulayam finds politicians the 'honest-est' of all

Honest, uncorrupt, ready-to-help-anyone fellows -- that's the profile of an Indian politician, according to Samajwadi Party president and Union Defence Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav.

This observation flowed from the defence minister's lips at a public function in Lucknow.

"Politicians," Mulayam Singh announced to an attentive crowd, "are most honest persons. It is wrong to say they are corrupt. It is only they who are always ready to help out people."

As the crowd -- mostly his own party workers -- stood transfixed, the SP leader proceeded to place the blame of all the country's evils squarely on bureaucratic shoulders. Corruption, he contended, was the bureaucrats' gift to society. And to prop his argument, he latched on to -- of all the people! -- the late and Bofors-maligned Rajiv Gandhi.

"Rajiv Gandhi had once said that only 15 per cent of government money reaches target groups," the minister declared solemnly, "It is the bureaucracy which pockets the rest."

As examples of 'such' administrators, Mulayam waved his hands in the general direction of those with plots in NOIDA and Gomti Nagar.

"From where did they get money to purchase such large plots?" he asked the crowd.

The audience, however, had no answer to the illuminating question. So the minister took up matters more important -- namely, criticising the former Bharatiya Janata Party-Bahujan Samaj Party government. Ex-chief minister Mayawati, he alleged, had been looting the exchequer with all her might in the last six months.

"The BJP got its pound of flesh," Mulayam Singh said, "but the major share went to the BSP."

The minister wound up his speech by exhorting the party workers to take up Ram Manohar Lohia's teachings (the function, incidentally, was to celebrate the leader's birth anniversary) as they were 'still relevant.'

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