BSP chief Mayawati is selling party tickets for next year’s Uttar Pradesh assembly polls for Rs 2 to Rs 10 crore apiece, alleged two of her legislators on Wednesday.
BSP leader Brajesh Pathak dismissed the allegation as baseless, saying the duo was inventing false charges after being denied tickets to contest the 2017 elections.
The money-for-ticket controversy has engulfed Mayawati in the past few months, with several leaders accusing her of placing a price to get selected as BSP candidate for the crucial polls.
The row took a nasty turn when BJP leader Dayashankar Singh called four-time chief minister Mayawati a prostitute for allegedly selling party tickets. Singh paid with an expulsion from his party.
The latest accusation came from legislators Harvinder Kumar Sahani aka Romi Sahani, and Brijesh Kumar Verma — who were expelled from the BSP for indiscipline on June 20. But, after senior leader Swami Prasad Maurya revolted, Mayawati re-inducted the duo on July 6.
“Candidates are forced to cough up Rs 2-10 crore for a ticket,” alleged Sahani, who represents Paliya assembly seat in Lakhimpur Kheri district. “Those who fail to give the money demanded by the party chief have been denied the party ticket, and their political career has been ruined. A majority of BSP MLAs are living in terror and some of them have even fallen ill,” he told reporters.
Dissident Maurya and senior BSP leaders RK Chaudhary and Daddu Prasad had made similar charges against Mayawati.
“Mayawati demanded Rs 5 crore from me and Rs 4 crore from Verma. I expressed my inability and told her that we are missionary workers. I have spent my salary on weddings of girls from poor families. The MLA area development fund had been utilised on electrification of 81 villages in my constituency,” Sahani said.
Verma, the legislator for Mallawan in Hardoi district, said BSP national general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui allegedly told them that many people were queuing up for a poll ticket, and willing to pay more money.
“When we refused to oblige, Siddiqui accused that I was regularly meeting rebel BSP leader Jugul Kishore. We were expelled from the party, and re-inducted later. But the demand for money stayed on.” They accused Mayawati of dumping the ideology of Bhimrao Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram, the Dalit-centric party’s founder.
“The disenchantment in the BSP runs deep and many party workers are planning to leave. If she wished to check rebellion, she should spend the money collected through the ticket sale on education and medical care of the poor,” Sahani said.
The duo condemned Dayashankar’s remarks against Mayawati. But, at the same time, castigated party leaders for their abusive comments on the expelled BJP leader’s mother, wife, and daughter.