| Shatrughan Sinha with Mayavati in Lucknow on Tuesday. (PTI)
Lucknow, Sept. 3: The spectre of bandit chief Dadua — who had defied the police forces of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh for two decades and roamed the jungles of Bundelkhand with a Robin Hood image — haunted the Uttar Pradesh Assembly today.
The Opposition accused the ruling BSP of openly patronising and protecting Dadua as a quid pro quo for his political support during the recent elections.
“Chief minister Mayavati has gone to the extent of transferring all members of the special task force of Uttar Pradesh police engaged in the Dadua operation at the instance of the bandit chief himself,” alleged leader of Opposition Mohammed Azam Khan.
He quoted a report from the Banda police chief naming a minister and two BSP legislators as active harbourers and supporters of the gangster.
“These legislators and even the parliamentary affairs minister are a blot on the House because they are trying to save a notorious bandit. They should be expelled,” thundered Khan.
The treasury benches fell silent as the Samajwadi Party’s Reoti Raman Singh continued the onslaught. “Recently, when one member of the Dadua gang was arrested, the police recovered railway coupons issued to a BSP minister from him,” alleged the Samajwadi MLA.
Singh and Khan fear that they themselves may fall victim to Dadua’s vengeance as they have launched a campaign against the bandit chief and have urged the Speaker to direct the state government to provide them additional security.
The BSP MLAs tried to explain away the party fielding one of Dadua’s brothers in the Assembly elections by arguing that “being related to a criminal was itself not a crime”.
However, the government had no convincing explanation for overhauling the task force engaged in Operation Daudua — from the deputy inspector-general and circle officer down to constables — by the Mayavati regime within days of assuming the power. Police sources confirmed that almost every cop involved in the encounters against the Dadua gang had been shunted out on Mayavati’s orders.
One of Bundelkhand’s most dreaded outlaws, Dadua carries an award of Rs 5 lakh on his head and has been hobnobbing with the members of the area’s political elite for almost two decades, according to police officials.
His political knack surfaced 17 years ago when he campaigned for fellow caste leader Ram Sajeevan of the Communist Party of India but later shifted allegiance to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi.
After the Samajwadi alliance with Kanshi Ram’s BSP broke down in 1995, Dadua has backed the BSP in all subsequent elections. In the recent Assembly polls, he openly campaigned for BSP candidates R.K. Singh Patel and Daddu Prasad for the Karvi and Mau-Mainkpur seats.