Mayawati appoints brother, nephew to top BSP posts

BSP Amroha MP Danish Ali has been made leader of the BSP in the Lok Sabha and Nagina MP Girish Chandra has been appointed chief whip.

June 23, 2019 03:49 pm | Updated 09:33 pm IST - Lucknow

Anand Kumar, brother of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati, and her nephew Akash Anand attend a rally in New Delhi on May 10, 2019.

Anand Kumar, brother of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati, and her nephew Akash Anand attend a rally in New Delhi on May 10, 2019.

'BSP chief Mayawati tightened her family’s grip on the party by appointing her younger brother Anand Kumar as vice-president and his son Aakash Anand as a national coordinator on Sunday.

Though Ms. Mayawati did not formally announce the new positions to the media, she informed her party leaders and MPs about the appointments at the BSP’s closed-door all-India level meeting held here, said sources.

Mr. Anand, a businessman who maintains a low profile, had been on the radar of the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department right before the 2017 Assembly polls over the reported meteoric rise in his fortune, which allegedly coincided with his sister’s chief ministerial tenure, 2007-12.

Mr. Aakash Anand, in his 20s, who completed his MBA in London, was first introduced to UP politics late in 2017 and after that, especially around the 2019 Lok Sabha election, became a regular fixture. Not only does he handle Ms. Mayawati’s twitter profile, he is also regularly seen at her press conferences and even addressed public meetings in the polls just concluded.

At the Agra rally this summer, he even stepped into the shoes of Ms. Mayawati who was banned from campaigning by the Election Commission.

His elevation to the key functional post of national coordinator is seen as the start of his formal rise in the party structure and line of succession. The BSP also appointed Ramji Gautam as a national coordinator, while Amroha MP Kunwar Danish Ali was made the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha and Nagina MP and Jatav leader Girish Chandra the chief whip.

Critical of dynastic politics in the past, Ms. Mayawati did not offer any explanation on elevating her brother and nephew.

During her meeting, she told party workers and leaders to focus on strengthening the organisation and increasing the mass base of the party by building “bhaichara [brotherhood]” like in 2007. That year, the BSP scripted history and came to power in UP with a full majority. Her “social engineering” of disparate castes was credited for the victory.

This is not the first time Mr. Anand had been anointed with the second most powerful position in the BSP. In 2017, he was appointed the vice-president on the condition that he would dedicate himself to the organisation and never contest polls or hold office of power.

However, in April 2018, in the build-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Ms. Mayawati relieved him of all party posts to apparently tackle charges of nepotism and to deter party leaders from seeking posts for their relatives.

Citing BSP founder Kanshiram’s commitment to remaining a bachelor all his life and keeping his family away from political posts for the sake of the movement, Ms. Mayawati had last year said her brother had offered to serve the party without any post. She argued she took the decision “so that no Opposition party in the country or media can level allegations of promoting dynasty in the party like the Congress and other parties”.

BJP MP Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti took a dig at the BSP’s promotion of dynasty saying “it is a family property” and properties are shared among family members.

“The BJP is the only party where a booth president can also become the national president,” she said.

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