Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh's decision to induct Neera Yadav, who was removed as Uttar Pradesh chief secretary on corruption charges, into the party is being seen by his colleagues as a desperate bid to grab the Ghaziabad Lok Sabha seat in the election.
"I am shocked that an upright person like Rajnath Singh has welcomed former bureaucrat Neera Yadav who enjoys the dubious distinction of being the only chief secretary in the country to be removed from the coveted job on charges of serious corruption by the Supreme Court," a former state BJP chief told IANS on condition of anonymity.
"I believe that his decision is misguided in the hope that the disgracefully ousted former chief secretary would be able to garner support for our party president as she hails from the Tyagi community that has a substantial presence in Rajnath Singh's Ghaziabad constituency," said another former state BJP chief.
"However, what surprises me is that a senior leader who is the national president of the country's leading party can be so shallow as to not realise that such considerations are absolutely frivolous and make no political sense," he added.
Even after her retirement, Neera Yadav was under cloud on account of a pending Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case against her for committing grave irregularities in allotment of plots in New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (Noida) during her stint as its chairperson.
Apart from misusing her authority to give out of turn allotments to her favoured lot for obvious considerations, she was also accused of fraudulently allotting prime plots in the name of her own daughters and kin.
Earlier, in a secret ballot carried out by the Uttar Pradesh Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Association to identify the three most corrupt in the elite cadre, Neera Yadav was voted second.
However, her shady track record never came in the way of her career and her proximity to several prominent politicians always got her plum postings. With caste as a key consideration in various facets of UP's governance, her marriage in a Yadav family came in handy for her to establish a close rapport with Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who appointed her the state chief secretary.
The Supreme Court had earlier shot down Mulayam's bid to retain yet another tainted IAS officer Akhand Pratap Singh as chief secretary after the latter had been voted at top of the list of three most corrupt IAS officers.
Both Neera Yadav and Akhand Pratap Singh lost their jobs on account of public interest litigations (PILs) moved before the apex court by a Lucknow journalist.
Neera Yadav's induction into BJP is seen as a bid by her to seek the last refuge as the CBI prosecution proceedings against her are still pending.
Interestingly, her husband Mahendra Singh Yadav, a police officer turned politician, has been a party hopper. After his close association with Mulayam Singh Yadav, he switched loyalties to BJP and even rose to become a state minister for a while. After BJP's exit from power, he chose to jump over to the Samajwadi Party only to once again join the BJP.