It wasn’t a fashion show, claims IAS officer’s wife

March 20th, 2008 - 6:42 pm ICT by admin  

Lucknow, March 20 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh bureaucrat Anis Ansari’s wife Asma Hussein has pleaded innocence about the alleged commercial use of the official bungalow for which Chief Minister Mayawati gave Ansari marching orders late Wednesday night. “All I had organized was a tea party on the lawns of the bungalow allotted to my husband in his capacity as the state’s agriculture production commissioner,” Asma Hussein told IANS Thursday.

Ansari was removed from the coveted post - regarded next only to the chief secretary - after a regional TV channel Wednesday telecast a fashion show being conducted on the lawns of 4, Vikramaditya Marg, the posh official residence allotted to him.

“My husband is being hounded simply with the intent of keeping him out of the race for the chief secretary’s post that is going to fall vacant a few months from now. After all, he is the senior most officer in line for the top job,” she claimed.

A fashion designer, Asma runs a private fashion institute in the city’s prime commercial hub, Hazratganj. She has been holding fashion shows as a part of her institute’s activities, but those were done in clubs, hotels or auditoriums.

This was the first time that such a show was held at the bungalow allotted to Ansari only about a year and a half ago.

Asma refused to accept that the event was a fashion show. “You can see the invitation cards that simply mention a ‘Victorian Tea Party’, which I was hosting in my capacity as vice president of IAS Officers Wives Association. The ramp show was a purely private affair in which even my daughters participated., So where was the question of any business promotion behind it?” she said.

Ansari maintained that he was not even present at the party. “I went home for lunch and left the place well before it commenced,” he said.

Senior bureaucrats of the state were non-committal. Some, however, termed the whole affair as “indiscretion” on Ansari’s part. Most of the officers, however, agreed with Asma’s claim that it was a ladies party that could not be labelled as any “business promotion activity.”

If it were truly a private affair, then why did she choose to invite the media? asked some. “Since media is formally invited to Page-3 kind of parties, I thought it appropriate to do so,” said Asma.

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