Mayawati names nephew Akash Anand as her successor in key BSP meet
Twenty-eight-year-old Akash Anand led the BSP’s campaign in the recently held assembly elections in four states- Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati named her nephew Akash Anand as her political successor in a key national level meeting of the party leaders and office bearers held at the BSP’s Uttar Pradesh state unit office in Lucknow on Sunday, leaders familiar with the matter said.
BSP leader Udayveer Singh, who was present in the meeting, confirmed that the BSP chief, while addressing the party leaders of various state units, called to review the preparation for the 2024 Lok Sabha election, has declared Anand, who is the national coordinator of the party, as her political heir.
“Akash Anand has been entrusted with the task to strengthen the organisation in the states where the party is weak. The Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand party units will work under the supervision of the party chief,” he said.
However, the official press statement released by the BSP has no mention of such an announcement.
Mayawati had made Anand, 28, who studied MBA from London, as her heir apparent by appointing him as the BSP’s national coordinator in party’s national executive meeting held in June 2019. He led the party’s campaign in the recently held assembly elections in four states- Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.
Mayawati appointed him in charge of the assembly elections along with senior party leaders Ramji Gautam and Ashok Siddharth to strengthen the organisation in the Dalit, tribal and OBC dominated areas.
Akash launched a 14-day ‘Sarvajan Hitay, Sarvajan Sukhay’ Sankalp Yatra, in Rajasthan to gear up the party cadre for the assembly election. The BSP bagged two seats in Rajasthan.
Son of Mayawatis’ brother Anand Kumar, who is the BSP’s national vice president, Akash was first seen in public with Mayawati when he accompanied her to Shabbirpur village located in Saharanpur district on May 23, 2017 to meet the Dalit community members who were allegedly tormented by upper caste Thakurs. He interacted with the local leaders and villagers.
Mayawati groomed him for top post in the party. She introduced him to the party leaders and workers during the public meetings in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll campaign in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karanataka, Rajasthan, Bihar, Delhi, Punjab, Himacahal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand. He accompanied Mayawati to attend crucial party meetings in Delhi.
He was also present during Mayawati’s pre-poll alliance talks with Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav and addressed a public meeting in Agra when the Election Commission imposed a ban on Mayawati for violating the model code of conduct.
On her 66th birthday programme on January 15, 2022, Mayawati had said the BSP was preparing Akash Anand for a bigger role in the party. He is young and gaining political maturity, the party has entrusted him with the task of spreading the base of the party in the states where assembly elections will be held later, she said adding tha during appropriate time Akash will get the opportunity to contest the election.
During the 2019 Lok Sabha election the name of Akash Anand was at number three position in the list of the BSP star campaigners and in the 2022 UP assembly election was elevated to the second position above the party national general secretary, SC Mishra.
A senior BSP leader, who did not wish to be named, said: “The announcement by the party chief that her nephew Akash Anand will be her successor is against the constitution of the party and the ideals of BSP founder Kanshi Ram.
Kanshi Ram was against the promotion of a family in the party and did not give any post in the party to his relatives, the leader added.
After the BSP formed government in Uttar Pradesh in 2007, Mayawati had announced that her successor will not come from her family, but from the Jatav community. There was speculation in the party then that Rajya Sabha MP, Raja Ram will be the next president. She appointed Raja Ram as the national vice president but removed him later.
Other regional parties also promote dynasty politics. The SP, RJD, RLD, BJD, NCP, DMK, YSRCP and Shiv Sena are flourishing with dynasty”, said a senior BSP leader.
Another BSP leader said Mayawati’s plan is to infuse new blood in the organisation to stimulate the cadre.
The defeat of the BSP in successive assembly and Lok Sabha elections had led to Dalits, especially youngsters, mulling over other options, the leader said adding that the rise of the Bhim Army led by Chandrashekhar Azad was a result of this stirring among the Dalits.
He said Anand will not only challenge Azad but will also motivate the party cadre.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha MP, Dinesh Sharma said Mayawati is promoting dynasty in the party. “Instead of assigning key roles to Dalit leaders or workers, she has promoted her nephew and brother in the organisation. She is following the footsteps of the SP and the Congress which are promoting dynastic politics.”
Refusing to comment on the issue, Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said it was the internal matter of the BSP.
Daddu Prasad, a founder member of the BSP, said, naming of her nephew as her successor indicates that Mayawati wants to convert a missionary party formed to fight for the rights of the Dalits into her private property. This step will prove to be the last nail in the BSP’s coffin. Several senior leaders have revolted and left the party,” he said.