From Mayawati’s “Man Friday”, Babu Singh Kushwaha on Wednesday is the BJP’s “Vibhishan”—the sobriquet affectionately bestowed on him by BJP vice-president Vinay Katiyar while welcoming him into the party.
The brother of the mythological Ravana who had switched sides, helped steer Lord Rama to victory. Doubtless, the BJP’s hopes are on the same lines. Lucknow equals Lanka and the epic battle for it is at hand.
The tainted former UP minister came from a Banda village and had a textile shop before joining the BSP. But over two-decades, he had risen to be the trusted “backroom boy” of Behenji – thanks to his start as a personal assistant of BSP founder Kanshi Ram and his preference to keep a low profile.In 2007, he was rewarded with key portfolios. But his real task was managing the day-to-day functioning of 5, Kalidas Marg—the CM’s house. He was practically made the next-door neighbour, with the official allocation of 6, Kalidas Marg.
Keeping him away from elections, Mayawati had nominated him in the legislative council. But Kushwaha had grassroot-level popularity too, especially among the Kushwaha, Prajapati (Kumhar), Kanchi and Kori communities of Bundelkhand.
But as his rise was slow, Kushwaha’s fall from grace was swift. Sometime in 2009, when financial irregularities in National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) were detected, he was given charge of the family welfare department to improve the situation—in vain. Already under pressure after the murder of chief medical officer (CMO) Dr BP Singh in October 2010, the situation spun out of control for Kushwaha in April 2011, after the murder of CMO Dr VK Arya.
Kushwaha was asked to resign and in November 2011 he was sacked for anti-party activities. Initially Kushwaha tried to find a place in the Congress, but the effort was scuttled. All he wanted was to protect himself from the ongoing CBI probe in the NRHM scam. But by throwing in his luck with the saffron brigade, he may have just miss the jackpot.