UP was in thick of action in 2011

Lucknow: Scams, murders and controversies reigned supreme in Uttar Pradesh in 2011 providing testing times for Chief Minister Mayawati amid heightened political activities which saw Congress and SP preparing to give a tough fight to the BSP in the coming assembly polls.

In the midst of the problems, the chief minister moved a proposal to divide the state into four parts and also got it hurriedly passed in 16 minutes in the assembly.

The move, seen by analysts as one to address to the demand being raised from different regions, especially Bundelkhand and Purvanchal, and in turn gain from it in the coming elections, also stunned her political opponents.

It not only pushed the ball back in the court of Central government and cornered the Congress but also forced others like the SP and the BJP to take a clear stand on the issue which either way is likely to benefit BSP`s poll prospects.

The year also saw more than five ministers losing their berths following inquiry by the state Lokayukta who received complaints of serious corruption charges against 22 ministers and 28 MLAs, mostly of the ruling BSP.

With an eye on the assembly elections, all the major parties undertook extensive yatras with the Congress` Rahul Gandhi and SP`s Akhilesh Yadav leading the way.

The Gandhi scion first went to Bhatta Parsaul followed by his arrest in May while expressing solidarity with farmers agitating for better land compensation and then undertaking massive mass contact programmes attacking the BSP.

The farmers` agitation brought into focus lacunae in land acquisition process underlining the need for a new bill. Land acquisition in various villages in Noida extension was also set aside by the court leaving thousands of allottees in the dark. .

The state witnessed one of the most talked about scams in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) funds, MGNREGS and Safe Motherhood schemes of the Central government.

The murder of yet another CMO (family welfare) B P Singh after the murder of CMO V K Arya in 2010 and the mysterious death of deputy CMO B P Sachan, an accused in the scam and murder case, in district jail, brought to the fore a murkier picture of functioning in the state`s health department and misutilisation of the NRHM funds.

It also led to dropping of two cabinet ministers, Babu Singh Kushwaha and Anant Kumar Misra and ordering of CBI probe despite government ordering special CAG inquiry into it.

Mayawati`s "letter politics" throughout the year on demands for reservation to different sections of society, however, failed to elicit a response from the Centre.

The state government faced major embarrassment with figuring of the name of its sitting MLA Purushottam Narain Dwivedi in the rape of a Dalit girl in Banda in the early part of the year eventually leading to his suspension from the BSP.

Another rape and murder case in Nighaasan police station of Lakhimpur district saw political parties hurtling to the sleepy town forcing the government to suspend the entire police station.

The CBI remained busy with both the cases being referred to it besides the NRHM scam and demands growing for handing over irregularities in the MGNREGS funds.
For the first time, Mayawati`s family was also in the line of Opposition fire with the BJP launching a campaign against her brother Anand Kumar for allegedly floating fake firms in the NCR region in a scam which it claimed could run into Rs 10,000 crore.

The state witnessed major train and road accidents with 69 people losing their lives in Kalka Mail derailment in Fatehpur district in July and 38 others being killed when a passenger train rammed into an express train at an unmanned railway crossing in Kanshiram Nagar just a couple of days earlier.

As many as 41 people died in Ballia in August when the tractor trolley in which they were going overturned and ITBP recruitment drive in Shahjahanpur in February saw the tragic death of 15 youth travelling on train tops.

Two sitting BSP MLAs Shekhar Tripathi and Anand Sen Yadav were convicted in the engineer Manoj Kumar Gupta and Shashi murder cases respectively of Auraiya and Faizabad.

The UP Assembly set a new record of sorts of holding the briefest winter session of a day which passed important resolution of division of state and supplementary demands. Veteran Hindi litterateur Lal Shukla Amar Kant earned national acclaim winning Jnanpith award. But sadly, he died 10 days after receiving the award on October 18.

Besides, long time confidante Babu Singh Kushwaha falling out of favour of Mayawati and being shown the door, sitting SP Rajya Sabha MP Rashid Masood joined the Congress.

Sitting BSP MP from Jaunpur Dhananjay Singh considered a heavyweight was arrested in a murder case.