BSP chief Mayawati is facing another dissident within her party after the debacle of the Lok Sabha elections. (Press Trust of India)
Uttar Pradesh's principal opposition party, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), is facing yet another rebellion in its ranks. The latest to join the dissident bandwagon is sitting Rajya Sabha MP Jugal Kishore, once a close aide of party supremo Mayawati.
Alleging large scale corruption in the party, he says, "Mayawati takes money for birthdays, calendars, books, state elections, and the rate for tickets is Rs 50 lakhs for reserved seats and Rs 1-2 crores for general seats."
Jugal Kishore is not alone. Party MLA from Mohammadi, Bala Prasad Awasthi, says the party's end is near. "Only money-making is happening. Only our skins are left. Our blood has been sucked out," he says. Awasthi's son joined the BJP recently.
Keeping in mind its already depleted bench strength, the party has not expelled Jugal Kishore, but only initiated disciplinary proceedings against him. "This man used to come on a cycle. When he first became an MLC, the party paid for his nomination. But now, he has amassed a lot of wealth," says senior party leader Swami Prasad Maurya, alleging corruption on Awasthi's part.
He added that Jugal Kishore is looking to join the BJP. "Like the people of the country, after joining the BJP, all these people will see bad days ahead," Maurya adds, in an allusion to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's promise of <i>achhe din</i>
The BJP, on the other hand, wants the Election Commission to investigate the charge of poll ticket sales in the BSP. "People are deserting a sinking ship. Since they are leaving it is only natural they will criticise. Jugal Kishore is not the only person to say this," says BJP spokesperson, Vijay Pathak.
In November, senior party leader Akhilesh Das too had quit the BSP and targetted Mayawati for taking money in exchange for tickets.
The flamboyant Mayawati who had once described herself as the 'daughter of wealth' (<i>daulat ki beti</i>), to take on the rich opposition parties of Congress, BJP and SP, has seen a sharp decline in her fortunes ever since her party's debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, when it failed to win even a single seat.