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Can Mayawati’s move boomerang?

BySunita Aron
May 09, 2024 04:27 PM IST

What has shocked the political quarters more is Mayawati’s decision to remove Anand as her political heir within four months of her announcement. Mayawati’s brother and Anand’s father Anand Kumar has now been appointed as the BSP’s national coordinator

For Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati, famous for blistering attacks on her opponents – be it Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP) or the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), sacking her nephew Akash Anand from the post of the party’s national coordinator for his sharp attack on the BJP has come as a huge surprise, even though he had used unwarranted words like Taliban and terrorists to denounce the BJP-led government.

BSP chief Mayawati with her nephew Akash Anand (PTI Photo)

Anand compared the state of Uttar Pradesh under the BJP rule to Afghanistan’s Taliban during a rally in Sitapur in April. He had targeted chief minister Yogi Adityanath, stating that the state was run by a government of traitors, similar to that of the Taliban.

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Anand joined mainstream politics in 2017. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Mayawati had made him a campaigner of the party. However, unlike inaccessible Mayawati, Anand is now more often visible on social media platforms and approachable too, after he started addressing public meetings and getting noticed for his aggressive tone and tenor, something her constituency of Dalits had been missing.

Also Read: Akash Anand’s first reaction after BSP’s Mayawati removed him as her ‘political successor’

What has shocked the political quarters more is Mayawati’s decision to remove Anand as her political heir within four months of her announcement. Mayawati’s brother and Anand’s father Anand Kumar has now been appointed as the BSP’s national coordinator.

Earlier this week, and in the middle of the Lok Sabha polls, Mayawati sacked Anand as her political heir and the party’s national coordinator, saying that he was not ‘’fully matured’’.

She said that the decision was taken keeping in view the larger interest of the ‘movement’. Mayawati’s decision evoked a war of words between her and the SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, whose political interests have been hurt as she replaces several candidates in constituencies going to the polls later.

Earlier, when the state went to the polls in the first two phases, the perception was that she was the B team of the BJP, but it was not reflected in the ticket distribution. In fact, her party leaders saw the party’s future as they saw her fighting the elections to win a couple of seats and share power at the Centre, irrespective of who will rule.

For instance, her decision to field DevvratTyagi from the Meerut Lok Sabha constituency hurt the BJP, whose prestige is at stake in Meerut after it fielded TV actor Arun Govil, who played Ram, to keep the temple issue alive. Tyagi’s have been traditional voters of the BJP and any dent in its vote bank would be an advantage to the SP in a triangular contest.

In Ghaziabad, in the heat of widespread Rajput protests, Mayawati fielded a Rajput candidate, Nand Kishore Pundir, while BJP had replaced Gen VK Singh, who had won the seat with the highest votes in 2019, with Atul Garg.

Thus, the speculations continue about the internal and external pressures that compelled Mayawati to take a decision perceived as detrimental to her own party’s interests. Some senior leaders were unhappy with the anointment of Anand as her successor.

Also Read: Akhilesh Yadav mocks BSP over removal of Akash Anand; Mayawati hits back

Dr Satish Prakash from Meerut had told HT that the BSP is temperamentally against dynastic politics from the days of Ambedkar and has not accepted family as successors – for example, Kanshi Ram, Jagjivan Ram, Ram Bilas Paswan. Thus, people will judge him on merit. Did they find him ‘ immature’?

“Mayawati besides shedding dynastic tag has also sent a message to the rank and file that action can be taken against anyone, irrespective of his or her stature,” he added.

A senior BSP leader from Agra, on the condition of anonymity, said, “People may clap for him but they may quit the party as they believe ‘raja ka beta raja hoga’ is a manuvadi culture. Kanshi Ram could have handed over his legacy to his brother or wife instead of Mayawati. The party will divide.”

On the other hand, the BJP was also not happy with the way BSP was playing its cards. This perception grew after Mayawati made some major changes in tickets in the prime constituencies.

Some of the dozen-odd constituencies where Mayawati effected changes included Jaunpur, Basti, Amethi, Pratapgarh, Jhansi and Basti

In the Jaunpur Lok Sabha constituency, Mayawati replaced Srikala Reddy Singh, wife of Dhananjay Singh with Shyam Singh Yadav, which is bound to benefit the BJP nominee Kripa Shanker Singh, who came from Maharashtra to contest the seat. The SP has fielded Babu Singh Kushwaha.

In Basti, the party replaced Daya Shanker Mishra with Luv Kush Patel. Meanwhile, the BJP has also fielded a Brahmin, Harish Dwivedi.

How would her constituency react to her decision to silence Akash Anand? In a tweet, he humbly accepted the decision of the party’s high command and has withdrawn from the public domain.

The constituency of Dalits is already unnerved by the debate on changes in the Constitution to rescind their quota. On the other hand, Mayawati has been telling them not to feel obliged to BJP because they distributed free ration. Can this move undo the damage?

Though SP had given a slogan of PDA, a rainbow coalition of backward, Dalit, minorities, traditionally the scheduled castes (SC) have not voted for a  ‘Yadav’ dominated party. Akhilesh did try to send a message by fielding a Jatav woman from Meerut to convince them about his intentions. However, the SC are open to supporting the opposition bloc as they are not averse to Congress. As of now, they are split in different directions. Can this move boomerang?

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