Dehradun: In a surprise move, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati suspended two party MLAs in the state, including cabinet minister Surendra Rakesh, on Friday.
The duo - Haridas and Rakesh - has been axed for indulging in anti-party activities. For some time, they were neither attending party functions nor entertaining the BSP workers. As a result, the pressure was building on the BSP to take action against the erring MLAs.
“The party president has suspended Rakesh and Haridas for anti party activities. There were a number of complaints against both,” state BSP president Meghraj Jaraware told Hindustan Times.
After the 2012 assembly polls in state, the BSP decided to extend support to the Congress-led coalition government. The BSP has three MLAs in the state assembly — Rakesh, Haridas and Sarbat Kareem Ansari. Incidentally, all three MLAs represent their respective seat in Haridwar district.
Cabinet minister Rakesh was a close ally of Haridas. Though he was not made a cabinet minister, Haridas remained powerful in the Vijay Bahuguna government. In due course of time, both the MLAs remained prominent in the Bahuguna government, and their proximity with the Congress surprised many in the BSP.
Subsequently, they did not attend party functions and even skipped Mayawati’s rally in Lucknow last year. This was taken as an indication that the BSP MLAs were ready to join the Congress in the near future.
Interestingly, the third BSP MLA, Ansari, remained loyal with the party. “The BSP cadres were frustrated for a long as Haridas and Rakesh were spoiling the party. We are hopeful that good times are ahead for the BSP,” Ansari said.
Both Rakesh and Haridas remained unavailable for comment. In fact, a section in BSP blames the Congress for chinks in the party.
They say that former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna gave enough room to both the MLAs since he wanted to minimise the influence of Haridwar MP Harish Rawat.
In the changed political scenario, Rawat is now at the helm of affairs.
It is not clear whether the Congress will welcome the suspended MLAs. Haridwar is the BSP’s stronghold. With an eye on the 34% Muslim population, the party has fielded one Mohammad Islam from the Haridwar parliamentary constituency.Islam is pinning hopes on the Muslims and Dalit combination.