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MeaCulpa: Criminals back in Uttar Pradesh

Alleged criminals and "history sheeters" make up a quarter of the new chief minister's cabinet.

Mea culpa.

A few days (weeks?) ago I wrote a post about the declining fortunes of politicians accused of serious crimes in Uttar Pradesh. Somehow I read a release wrong, or botched the statistics, or just succumbed to the delirium tremens.

Fortunately for me, bloggers are considered more honest than regular journos because we admit when we are wrong. (And we don't do it like Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, with all kinds of caveats that make it out like it was actually mostly somebody else's fault.)

Onward.

It turns out that the fortunes of politicians with criminal cases lodged against them have improved with the resurgence of the Samajwadi Party (SP), according to the UK-based Daily Mail.

And that's even though a reputation for allowing a free-for-all of banditry and thuggery (goonda Raj, they call it here) was responsible for the SP's ouster last time around.

"Outlaws make up almost a fourth of [new Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav's] council of ministers," the Mail writes. "As if this were not enough, over two dozen non-performers have been carried over from his father's Cabinet."

"There are 17 cabinet ministers and 30 ministers of state in Akhilesh's council, of whom 11 have criminal records. All the members of the cabinet are confidants of either Mulayam or Akhilesh's uncle Shivpal - the latter's conduct often raising eyebrows in UP."

Among the so-called rogue's gallery is my old pal Raja Bhaiya. Maybe I should write about him again. I could even meet him this time, since he's out of jail.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/india/india-criminals-politics-uttar-pradesh