The Congress leaders of Uttar Pradesh may defer to Sonia Gandhi but owe their fortunes to her arch enemy, Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party. Pramod Tiwari, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader, is said to have a rocking rapport with the chief minister and has praised him in the House.
Sources say Tiwari’s son-in-law, Ambika Mishra, is doing roaring business through Ambalika, his construction company in Lucknow, courtesy the UP government. After his marriage to Tiwari’s daughter, he has reportedly bagged tenders amounting to Rs 1,000 crore from the UP Public Works Department. Beautification of city roads, and linking the golf club to the ring road, is now in Ambalika Construction’s pocket. It is also reliably learnt that the contracts for construction of the Sahara Mall in Lucknow and the proposed office-cumresidence (reputed to be worth Rs 100 crore) of Sahara India Managing Worker Subrato Roy “Saharasri” in Sahara City has been awarded to Mishra. It is widely known that Saharasri and the chief minister have a common friend, who is
close to a Bollywood film star.
Further, Tiwari’s daughter-a Sahara staffer-reportedly aspires to join politics. The chief minister changed the Pratapgarh district collector twice before the coming polls. It is said that this was done to let Tiwari manage his election from Rampur Khas constituency in the district.
Other Congressmen are also indebted to the chief minister. Jagdambika Pal reportedly got a no-objection certificate from the state governm nt for hisproposed dental college on the Rae Bareli road just three days befo re suchapprovals were banned. The UP CongressC ommittee (UPCC) spokesman, Akhilesh Pratap Singh, is said to have recently established access to the chief minister through the vice-chairman of the Lucknow Development Authority, BB Singh-the man who allotted 28 plots to the chief minister’s relatives and senior bureaucrats, provoking a court inquiry.
UPCC chief Salman Khurshid is also considered close to the chief minis ,so much so that people approach him for land allotments to set up schools. Khurshid’s wife, Congress MLA Louise Salman Khurshid, spends a good deal of time on the UP secretariat’s fifth floor -where all-important offices are located.
Sources reveal she was inclined to accept a berth in the Mulayam cabinet. Her husband reportedly had a hard time preventing her, to forestall embarrassment to him.
Vol 1,Issue 1 | April 2007