LUCKNOW In what appeared to be a bid to claim the mantle of young Dalit leader, the presence of a large number of Bhim Army supporters at the venue of the joint SP-BSP-RLD rally in Deoband on Sunday prompted Bahujan Samaj Party leaders to introduce party chief Mayawati’s nephew Akash to supporters on Sunday.Bhim Army supporters thronged the rally ground with posters and pictures of their leader Chandrashekhar Azad, shouted slogans in his favour and claimed their organisation was working for the empowerment of Dalits across the state just like the BSP.Jostling with BSP workers for space at the rally ground, they said the Bhim Army chief was also mobilising Dalits to defeat the BJP in the Lok Sabha election.In a tweet after the rally, Chandrashekhar thanked the Bhim Army supporters for participating in the rally with his posters.“It shows the love among the Dalits for me. The Dalits are uniting against the BJP,” he said.Apparently to counter the Bhim Army move, BSP leaders introduced Akash to the party supporters after Mayawati, SP chief Akhilesh and RLD president Ajit Singh concluded their speeches. Akash was present on the dais along with Mayawati and BSP national general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra. The BSP supporters lauded Akash when he was introduced as the young leader of the party.Also Read | Only we can challenge BJP, says Mayawati at UP Oppn rallyEarlier too, Akash had accompanied Mayawati to political meetings and rallies. He was present with Mayawati in crucial meetings with Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow when the duo announced their pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha election.Akash, who holds an MBA degree from a prestigious institute in London, accompanied Mayawati to Shabbirpur village in Saharanpur district on May 23, 2017 to meet Dalits who were allegedly tormented by Thakurs. He interacted with the local leaders and villagers. Akash, son of Mayawatis’ brother Anand Kumar, has been managing the BSP’s social media cell, according to party insiders.Although Mayawati had maintained a distance from the social media, a BSP leader said Akash convinced his aunt to open an account on the micro blogging site Twitter. A BSP leader, who did not wish to be named, said Akash was being groomed by Mayawati to manage the party affairs after her.