A controversial Congress minister from Jharkhand who has a history of criminal activities, has left his own party red-faced by claiming that no one could become a minister in any Congress-ruled state unless he had the ability to be a sycophant.
Yogendra Sao, a newly-inducted Congress minister in the Hemant Soren government, sparked off the latest controversy on Sunday by asserting that sans a strong lobby in the party high command in New Delhi one cannot become a minister in any Congress ruled state.
The Congress and RJD are partners in Jharkhand’s ruling alliance led by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).
Sao is also one of the six political leaders being probed by the CBI after a sting operation conducted by a private channel ahead of the 2010 Rajya Sabha elections caught them on tape expressing their willingness to accept money in return for their vote.
The biennial election was countermanded by the Election Commission.
On Saturday, Sao was sworn in as the state’s agriculture, sugarcane and housing development minister.
“I had camped in New Delhi for over a fortnight where I used all my influences, meeting people close to Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Ahmad Patel to lobby for the ministerial berth, which came at a very big price,” said the legislator from Badkagaon assembly constituency in Hazaribagh district during a function.
Infamous for his criminal records, the tough-talking Sao has turned out to be an embarrassment to the party earlier too. But the Congress had always stood by him due his organisational abilities which have helped in strengthening the party’s base in rural areas.
A day after, the minister’s remarks have drawn flak from various senior leaders of the party, who are demanding actions against him.
“Sao’s statement is ridiculous. We are going to apprise the high command about his misdemeanors. Appropriate actions would follow soon,” state Congress chief Sukhdeo Bhagat said.
However, speaking to HT on Monday, Sao was singing a different tune. “My statements have been distorted and presented. I was referring to the struggles of a grassroots politician in day-to-day life. There was no mention of sycophancy or lobbyism with the party high command,” he claimed.
Sao, albeit, stressed that he was unhappy with the portfolios given to him and went on to threaten that he knows better how to snatch the responsibilities of other departments if they do not come to him the way they should.
His plainspeak has given opposition parties in Jharkhand the much-needed hammer to slam the Congress and its style of functioning.
Man with a past | Sao’s history of crimes
Spent a month in jail for assaulting the Keredari BDO
Served a month in term for assaulting NTPC officials
Procured bail after spending a month in jail on charges of extorting money from a businessman.
Caught on camera accepting cash during the infamous cash-for-vote scam during the 2010 Rajya Sabha polls