MAYAA JAAL … Mayawati foists her brother and nephew to the apex of the BSP



LUCKNOW: It is family to the fore in Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP). Former chief minister Mayawati, whose party faced serious reverses in the Lok Sabha polls despite an alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) in their base in Uttar Pradesh, has inducted her brother Anant Kumar as the party’s vice president. She has also named her nephew, 24-year-old Akash Anand, as the national coordinator of the BSP.  Another BSP leader, Ramji Goutam, has also been named the national coordinator.

In January, there were reports that Anant Kumar’s wealth rose from 7.5crore in 2007 to an astonishing Rs 1316crore by 2014. This was the period when his sister Mayawati was chief minister. He allegedly ran some shell companies to turn black into white.

Prominent BSP leader Danish Ali, who won the Amroha seat, has been named as the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha and Nagina MP Girish Chandra as the chief whip in the lower house, the party has announced.

Mayawati’s political graph has been on the downslide for quite some time. While she and Akhilesh Yadav, another former chief minister cobbled an alliance this time to fight the Lok Sabha polls, expectations were that the combine would sweep the polls in the state, that has the largest number of Lok Sabha seats – 80. The reverse has happened, much to the surprise of both the parties. The BJP swept the LS polls for the second time, winning 64 seats, while the SP got 15 seats and the BSP 11 seats. 

The  BJP had won 79 seats in 2014, and expected to win no more than 50 seats this time amid widespread speculations that the BJP would fare very badly in the state.

Mayawati had hoped to stake the claim for the PM post if the BJP and NDA failed to get a majority at the national level and in case a situation arose of the Opposition parties coming together to stake claim for forming the government. The results on May 23 stunned her, as also Akhilesh Yadav.

While Mayawati is increasingly turning to her family members to lead the party, political observers see this as a desperate attempt on her part to keep herself afloat in politics. The unexpected windfall for the BJP this time, as also in the last assembly polls which brought the BJP to power in the state, meant the two former chief ministers are not in the people’s reckoning anymore. Akhilesh virtually split the SP, which his father Mulayam Singh had formed decades ago and is reportedly not on good terms with his father, as also Mulayam’s brother who wielded massive influence in the SP when Mulayam led it from the front. The BJP is gaining from the people’s disenchantment with Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav.

Notably, another regional chieftain, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is also bringing to the fore her nephew, Abhishek Banerjee. Thirtyone-year-old Abhishek, who was recently made vice president of the Trinamool Congress, had been fielded from Diamond Harbour constituency in the LS polls this time, and he won the seat. Abhishek is second only to Mamata in the Trinamool Congress now. IHN-NN


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