A day after the Uttar Pradesh lokayukta indicted state education minister Rangnath Mishra on corruption charges, chief minister Mayawati on Wednesday sacked him and labour minister Badshah Singh, who too is facing similar allegations.
With these two, Mayawati has removed five ministers, four since December 2010, following allegations of financial wrongdoing.
Following a Lokayukta report, Mayawati had removed minister for animal husbandry and dairy development Awadhpal Singh Yadav on August 16. She had sacked religious endowment minister Rajesh Tripathi in December 2010. Earlier, former minister Ashok Kumar Dohre was also removed on grounds of graft.
In May former minister Anand Sen got life imprisonment on murder charges.
Mishra has been charged with amassing illegal wealth and grabbing land in village Aurai in Sant Ravidas Nagar (Bhadoi) during his last four years in government while Badshah Singh faces similar charges in Mahoba.
Mayawati’s ‘operation clean-up’ is being seen as a precursor to 2012 assembly elections. She has shown the door to more than 12 party members including an MP, MLAs, MLCs and office bearers, in a little more than a month. Three more ministers are likely to go. The lokayukta is investigating corruption charges against higher education minister Rakesh Dhar Tripathi, culture minister Subhash Pandey and horticulture minister Narain Singh.
Though Lokayukta Justice (retd) NK Mehrotra favoured a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Mishra, the CM has entrusted further investigation with the state vigilance organisation.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) state president Swami Prasad Maurya said the BSP was the only party that had taken stern action against its leaders facing corruption and criminal charges. The opposition (the Congress, BJP and Samajwadi Party), however, said it was not enough. “Mayawati should also resign, as she faces similar charges,” said Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary.