Rebellion and accusation of ‘money collection’ has returned to haunt Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati even as the party gears up to celebrate her 59th birthday on January 15.
Senior BSP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Jugul Kishore on Sunday accused Mayawati of taking money in return for allotting ticket to contest Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls. “For general seat she takes Rs 1 crore and Rs 50 lakh for reserved seat,” he said.
Former Lok Sabha MP and leader of BSP in Lok Sabha (2009-14) Dara Singh Chauhan had revolted against Mayawati and was shown door on December 29. Chauhan was considered the backward face of BSP and entrusted with the task to mobilise the backward community members in East UP. A BSP leader said, “Chauhan was hobnobbing with the BJP and SP leaders and failed to turn up in the meetings called by Mayawati.”
Another senior leader and ex-Rajya Sabha member Akhilesh Das resigned from BSP on November 5 last year. A war of words had broken out between Das and Mayawati with the former accusing her of demanding hefty money for Rajya Sabha ticket. Countering his charge, Mayawati said, “Das offered me Rs 100 crore for the upper house ticket. I rejected his proposal and gave the ticket to the candidate committed to party’s ideology.”
Former Lok Sabha MP from Salempur seat Ramashankar Rajbhar too rebelled against the BSP leadership and accused Mayawati of preferring leaders with money power.
Meanwhile, a meeting of BSP leaders and office bearers was held on Sunday in the state unit office to discuss the preparations for the birthday and Vidhan Parishad election.
Though the rebellion of the senior leaders had shaken the party, Mayawati tried to downplay it by urging leaders to start preparations for her birthday and Vidhan Parishad election scheduled on January 23. She told workers to celebrate her birthday as Jan Kalyankari Diwas by assisting the poor.
Meanwhile, a close aide of the BSP chief, Jugul Kishore was quick to hit back. Talking to HT, he said, “Mayawati has plans to raise money through birthday celebrations as well. BSP MPs, MLAs and MLCs have been directed to launch donation campaign and the money would be handed to the BSP chief on January 15.”
“I am soldier of BSP founder Kanshi Ram and worked hard to strengthen the organisation in UP and neighbouring states. Later, I found that instead of work or loyalty Mayawati preferred money power. She was no more daughter of Dalit but that of Daulat (money). In party meetings, I objected to the money collection practice and told Mayawati that it had tarnished the image of party but instead of mending her ways she removed me from all posts of the organisation,” Kishore lamented. The decision of Mayawati to send two Dalit leaders Vir Singh and Raja Ram to Rajya Sabha in November has led to dissension among the upper caste leaders. A BSP leader belonging to upper caste said, “Mayawati talks of social engineering and in that case she should have sent an upper caste leader to Rajya Sabha as well.”
As the BSP leadership launched damage control exercise by releasing the list of Vidhan Parishad candidates, rival political parties were quick to hit back. BJP state unit president Laxmikant Bajpai said a high level inquiry should be set up over the accusation of the rebel BSP leaders.
While SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said the Election Commission should take cognizance of ‘ticket for money’ charge levelled by senior BSP leaders.