Mayawati Appoints Brother, Nephew to Key Posts in BSP; JDS Turncoat Danish Ali Elected Leader in LS
Lucknow: Janata Dal (Secular) turncoat Danish Ali was on Sunday elected as leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Lok Sabha while Mayawati's brother Anand Kumar was appointed vice-president of the party.
Besides Ali and Kumar, the BSP chief's 24-year-old nephew Akash Anand and former party vice-president Ramji Gautam were chosen as its national coordinators. The move gains importance as it comes ahead of the bypolls on 12 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh, with the party attempting to revive its cadre as well as attract youth.
Nagina MP Girish Chandra has been appointed the chief whip in the lower house.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticised the appointments and accused the BSP of practising dynastic politics. "Whether it's the Congress, SP or BSP, these are family parties... they don't represent India or the Indian people," said Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister KP Maurya.
The decision to appoint the new faces was taken at a two-hour-long national convention of the BSP at party headquarters in Lucknow, which was attended by all newly-elected MPs, MLAs and key post-holders from across the country.
The party also discussed other important issues, such as the removal of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and holding elections through ballot papers all across the country.
Ali, a close aide of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, is considered instrumental in stitching the BSP-JDS alliance for the assembly polls. Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, he joined BSP with consent from Gowda.
In an earlier instance, Kumar was named the party vice-president but removed after allegations of dynastic politics were levelled against Mayawati.
On the other hand, the elevation of Mayawati's nephew's is being considered crucial as he is reportedly among the front-runners to take over the party after her. When Akash was included in the list of party's star campaigners ahead of polls, a BSP leader had said, "Akash's inclusion in the star campaigners' list could be the beginning of an exercise to give him something big in the near future."
An MBA graduate from London, Akash made his first public appearance in 2016 when he accompanied Mayawati to Saharanpur. He has also shared the stage with her during a rally in Meerut in February 2017.
Speaking to News18, sources said the nephew's induction is a part of Mayawati's larger policy of attracting young voters towards the BSP.
Dressed in a blue suit and a pair of unique shoes that caught the media’s attention, Akash was spotted standing behind the BSP chief when Samajwadi Party's Akhilesh Yadav visited Mayawati on her birthday on January 15. Akash was also present when Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav flew down from Patna to meet her.
In January, Mayawati had lashed out at the media for "unfavourably targeting" her nephew and calling him her successor. At that time, she had announced that in order to give a befitting reply to the media, she will induct Akash into the BSP movement.
After the party allied with the SP in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Akash became more active and was credited with launching Mayawati on Twitter.
Akash was also seen with his aunt during election rallies. On April 16, after the Election Commission banned Mayawati for campaigning for 48 hours over a Model Code of Conduct violation, Akash addressed a rally with Akhilesh and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh in Agra.
(With inputs from PTI)