Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati has made major changes in the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit and has also removed leader of the party in the Lok Sabha.
In a decision taken during a meeting with senior leaders and zonal co-ordinators here on Tuesday, Mayawati appointed former Raja Sabha member Munkad Ali as the new state president of the BSP in UP, replacing RS Kushwaha, who has been appointed general secretary in the party’s national committee, said a press release issued here on Wednesday.
The party has also removed its leader in the Lok Sabha, Danish Ali. Now BSP MP from Jaunpur, Shyam Singh Yadav, will be the leader of the BSP in Lok Sabha while young Ritesh Pandey, who represents Ambedkarnagar seat in Lok Sabha, will be the deputy leader in the House. However, chief whip of the party, Girish Chandra Jatav, will continue on the post.
Meanwhile, reports said that BSP support to the Bharatiya Janata Party on repealing Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, has led to rumblings of dissent among Dalits who fail to understand the party’s political posturing.
Senior Dalit leader Udit Raj, who is now in the Congress which opposed the BJP’s move to scrap Article 370, claimed that Mayawati was never concerned for the welfare of the members of her community.
Raj claimed that the BSP had never taken to the streets to fight for the rights for Dalits and neither it raised voice against the ruling party in Parliament.
The Dalit leader claimed that by supporting the scrapping of Article 370, the BSP once again showed that it was only concerned with the interests of Mayawati and her family and was least bothered about the welfare of the community.
BSP’s national co-ordinator and Mayawati’s nephew Akash Anand hit back on Udit Raj, saying that he (Raj) was in the BJP for several years and had left the party only when ticket was denied to him in the last parliamentary election.
He also said that Raj was “selfish” and had no concern for Dalits.
Akash Anand clarified that his party’s support to the BJP’s resolution was a case of ‘India first’. “We supported the government on issues of national interest and our decision is also in the interests of Dalits because they will now be entitled to the benefits of reservation in Jammu and Kashmir,” he explained.
BSP president Mayawati also defended her decision saying that segregation of Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir was the fulfilment of a long-standing demand of Buddhists.
“The followers of Dr BR Ambedkar, who are Buddhists, are happy at the decision and we support them,” she said.
Meanwhile, sources said that a big number of BSP leaders were against the party supporting the BJP on Article 370, saying it would have been better had the abstained from voting.
The leaders felt that Muslims played a big role in the BSP victory during last election and by going with the BJP on the Jammu and Kashmir issue, the party would lose these votes in western UP.