Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) national general secretary Satish Misra may continue to remain her confidant, but Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has no intentions of letting him don the mantle of her successor as she Saturday said only a Dalit will succeed her.
Making this clear at a hurriedly convened meeting of party ministers, MPs, legislators and district coordinators at the BSP's state headquarters here, Mayawati said: "I am aware that everyone was wondering who I would nominate as my successor in the event I rode on to become prime minister. I was also told that other than Satish Misra, the names of Naseem Siddiqui and Swami Prasad Maurya were doing rounds.
"But let me clarify that while I would accomodate these prominent leaders in key positions at the centre, a committed Dalit alone would be my successor as chief minister here," she said as according to some of those who attended the meet. only a Dalit will be her successor, she said, according to some of those who attended the meet.
Announcing a new role for Misra, who was so far projected as the architect of her "social engineering" initiative, Mayawati reportedly said: "He will now devote his energies to fighting all court battles for me and for our government."
In the four-and-a-half-hour closed-door session, she also cautioned her party's leaders against the Congress "playing tricks" with Dalits and "misguiding" them.
She also asked them to gear up for the forthcoming by-elections for 13 assembly and a parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
Stressing on accountability, the BSP chief said, "Responsibility would be fixed for poor performance."
She also reiterated that in the April-May Lok Sabha elections, the entire opposition had "ganged up" against the BSP, leading to a lower-than-expected tally for the party.
Misra was the only other leader who addressed the meeting. His 20-minute speech was devoted to clarifications on rumours about his being sidelined.
"I continue to enjoy Behenji's blessings as before and will continue to work like her devoted soldier to further the interests of the party and the government," he said, according to party sources
Meanwhile, Mayawati expelled a former Rajya sabha MP, Balihari Babu, from the party for "anti-party activities". She was stated to have told the gathering, "Balihari Babu has been removed as he damaged BSP's prospects in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and other places, where he was sent to look after the interests of the party. I understand that he was playing into the hands of the Congress."