|New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has made intentions clear on making the rule of law in the state as her first priority, but her own council of Ministers, which was sworn in on May 13, has a few members having criminal antecedents.
Of the 19 Cabinet rank Ministers sworn in on May 13, at least 10 have pending criminal cases and of these, eight have been charged with heinous crimes ranging from attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy and intimidation that could attract a minimum of two years imprisonment if convicted.
Minister of State with Independent charge Badshah Singh is facing six criminal charges, which included attempt to murder, extortion and kidnapping.
“This election was fought on the issue of criminalization of politics and Mayawati’s slogan against her political opponents was gundon ke chhathi par button dabega haathi par (vote for the elephant instead of the hoodlums). Now, she has to address this issue urgently,” a news agency quoted Bibhu Mohaptra, convenor of election watchdog Associa-tion for Democratic Re-forms (ADR) as saying.
Interestingly Singh, who was earlier in the BJP, was also one of the members of a group formed to lend support to Raghuraj Pratap Singh, when Singh and his father were slapped with NSA during Mayawati’s previous stint as Chief Minister.
Similarly Minister of State with independent charges Anand Sen Yadav faces 12 criminal cases, which included attempt to murder and is currently lodged in Faizabad jail.
Yadav could not be sworn in as he was shifted to the hospital from jail on medical grounds. Significantly Yadav is the son of BSP MP from Faizabad Mitra Sen Yadav whose name has cropped up in the human trafficking case.
Other Ministers facing criminal cha-rges were Jamuna Nishad, Awadh Pal Singh Yadav, Sang-ram Singh and Shahjil Islam.
Ending a 14-year era of coalition government in the politically turbulent state of Uttar Pradesh in a historic win, BSP supremo Mayawati was sworn in as the 40th Chief Minister of the state on May 13.
The Ministers of State (independent charge) in UP are: Ram Achal Rajbhar, Anees Ahmed Khan, Ayodhya Prasad Pal, Yamuna Nishad, Omwati, Anand Sen Yadav, Badshah Singh, Ranganath Mishra, Vinod Kumar, Fateh Bahadur, Lakhiram Nagar, Avdesh Verma, Raghunath Prasad, Ram Heth, Rampal Verma, Anant Kumar Singh, Avadh Pal Singh, Yashwant, Ratan Lal Ahirwal and Daddan Prasad.
The nine Ministers of State are: Sangram Singh, Abdul Manan, Yogesh Raj Singh, Vidya Choudhury, Rajesh Tiwari, Jai Singh, Daddan Mishra, Hari Om and Yashpal Singh. Among the Ministers, Siddiqui is BSP national secretary and Lalji Verma is state party chief. Senior leader Swami Prasad Maurya, former BSP legislature party leader, who lost from Dalmau seat, was also made a Minister.