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BJP seeks to downplay Kushwaha affair

Lucknow: In an attempt to put a lid on the controversy over induction of tainted former Uttar Pradesh minister Babu Singh Kushwaha into the party, the BJP today said that "he is neither in the party nor would he ever be". "Neither is Babu Singh Kushwaha in the party nor would he ever be," newly-elected BJP state unit president Laxmi Kant Bajpai told mediapersons here.

Bajpai, however, evaded queries on who should be held responsible for endorsing Kushwaha`s induction, after former BJP state president Surya Pratap Shahi and senior leader Vinay Katiyar denied any role in it. Shahi had denied on Monday any role in bringing Kushwaha into the partyfold during the Assembly elections. Kushwaha`s induction into the BJP has been put on hold pending an inquiry into the charges against him.

Spelling out his priorities, Bajpai said his aim was to further strengthen the party organisation for which he would hold direct dialogue with workers and motivate them to work towards it. To a question, Bajpai said his party would function as a vigilant opposition and highlight the wrongdoings of the government.

Accusing the SP government of Muslim appeasement for vote bank politics, the new party president stressed that there should not be any discrimination on the basis of religion in implementation of welfare schemes as it damages social harmony.

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