A week after national general secretary Swami Prasad Maurya quit the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), yet another senior leader and former minister RK Chaudhary deserted the party.
Addressing a hurriedly called press conference on Thursday, Chaudhary accused BSP chief Mayawati of auctioning assembly tickets and sidelining the committed leaders of the party. “Mayawati has converted the BSP into a ‘private real estate company’.
Instead of missionary workers, she is distributing assembly ticket to builders, land sharks and contractors. Hundreds of disgruntled BSP leaders and workers are likely to quit BSP before the assembly election,” he said.
When asked about his future political strategy, Chaudhary said, “I have called a meeting of my supporters on July 11. After consulting my them, I will decide whether to float a political party or to ally with a like-minded party.”
A founder member of BSP, Chaudhary was considered a close aide of BSP founder Kanshi Ram. After differences with Mayawati, he resigned from the BSP in 1998 and floated the Rashtriya Swabhiman Party (RSP). Before the 2014 Lok Sabha election, he merged RSP with BSP and contested the Lok Sabha election from Mohanlalganj seat.
The BSP failed to open account in the Lok Sabha election, yet Mayawati appointed Chaudhary (who enjoys considerable influence over the Pasi community) as coordinator of the Allahabad and Mirzapur zone to mobilise dalit and backward community voters.
However, differences cropped up between Mayawati and Chaudhary over distribution of tickets for the 2017 assembly election. Chaudhary wished to contest from his traditional seat Mohanlalganju, but Mayawati gave the ticket to retired bureaucrat Ram Bahadur.
“I was denied a ticket as I failed to arrange the money demanded by Mayawati. She also put pressure on me to collect money from the candidates aspiring for a BSP ticket. I told her that this was against the ideals of Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram. When Mayawati continued to sell the tickets, I decided to leave the BSP,” he said.
Lashing out at Mayawati he said, “Rather than following the advice of the missionary leaders, she is taking decisions on the instruction of sycophants. The ideals of dalit icons Jyotiba Phule, Shahuji Maharaj and Periyar are ignored as Mayawati has converted the BSP into a currency churning machine.”
The BSP was quick to hit back. Senior BSP leader Brijesh Pathak said, “Chaudhary quit the BSP to serve his vested political interest . He demanded an assembly ticket, but Mayawati told him to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The Pasi community will support the BSP. Party MLA Indrajit Saroj has been entrusted with the task of mobilising Pasi community members.”