Bahujan Samaj Party leader Intezaar Ahmad Abdi, allegedly involved in the arson at Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi's house in Lucknow, has been appointed the chairman of state sugar corporation by the Mayawati government, a move that has invited the ire of the Congress.
Abdi's appointment as the chairman of Ganna Sansthan, a post equivalent to the rank of Minister of State, had been cleared and an order to this effect was issued on Sunday evening, official sources said on Monday. BSP sources, however, said Abdi's appointment to the post was cleared by the party leadership a week ago. Reacting to the development, Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said in New Delhi that "UP Chief Minister Mayawati has no regard for the law at all and it is outrageous that somebody who is allegedly the person against whom an FIR has been filed has been rewarded. It is inexcusable". 60-year-old Joshi, who is out an interim bail after being arrested for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Mayawati, said that she was pressing for a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry since the man allegedly responsible for burning down her house has been elevated.
Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh said, "The weakness of Congress party leadership is encouraging Mayawati because Rahul Gandhi has also condemned Rita Bahuguna Joshi's statement and the party has officially expressed regret"."On the one hand, Congress is accepting BSP's support and on the other, Joshi is doing something else--wants to grab the opposition's space. Congress should take a clear stand," Singh said.
The name of Abdi, a former student union leader, figured in the July 15 attack at the residence of Joshi, wherein some alleged BSP workers set fire to her house. The Congress had lodged a written complaint against Abdi and BSP MLA from Bikapur assembly segment in Faizabad district, Jitendra Singh Babloo, alleging that they had led the BSP workers who vandalised Joshi's house. Abdi and Babloo's names were later incorporated in the FIR lodged by the police at Hussainganj police station in Lucknow. The Congress had already launched an agitation demanding the arrest of two BSP leaders.