(MENAFN- IANS) Lucknow, Dec 11 (IANS) Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati's decision to name her nephew Akash Anand as her successor, has left the party cadres completely confused.
Senior BSP functionaries said that the decision appears to have been taken without due consideration and would prove detrimental to the party's future.
Dalit leader Dr Lalji Prasad Nirmal said that nepotism would damage the BSP further and Akash's appointment would not yield positive results for the party.
Sources said that the move was an attempt to inject youthful energy into the party, particularly in response to the growing influence of Azad Samaj Party chief Chandra Shekhar Azad among the Dalit electorate
Though Mayawati made it clear that no other family member of Akash would hold a position in the party organisation, the potential impact on the organisational responsibilities of Akash's father Anand Kumar and his father-in-law Ashok Siddharth, the former party MP, remain uncertain.
Anand Kumar has been under ED's scanner and had courted controversy this June when a transaction audit of a real estate firm in Noida had claimed that he and his wife were allotted 261 flats in a building complex at undervalued rates.
Mayawati's announcement comes after Akash played a prominent role in overseeing recent assembly elections in states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
While party leaders anticipated Akash's ascendancy, the timing of the announcement aligns with the conclusion of the recent state polls where the BSP did not fare well.
“Akash Anand was named as national coordinator by Mayawati but he has not been actively engaging in party activities. He does not meet party workers and remains in an ivory tower, like his aunt. What the BSP needs is a leader who can interact with grassroot level workers, understand their problems and initiate dialogues. Akash is hesitant on all such scores,” said Prakash Kumar Gautam, a party worker.
The party has witnessed a decline in its electoral performance since 2012, and the announcement is seen as an effort to navigate the complex political landscape in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
In the 2022 state Assembly elections, the BSP won a single seat and polled less than 13 per cent votes.
Akash Anand became politically visible in 2019 when he stood in for his aunt at an election rally.
Son of Mayawati's brother and BSP vice president Anand Kumar, the 28-year-old Akash holds an MBA degree from a London institute.
During the 2017 state Assembly elections, Akash, then 22, accompanied Mayawati to public meetings, marking his initial foray into active party participation.
In January 2019, after the prepoll alliance between SP and BSP, Akash was present alongside BSP national general secretary S.C. Mishra to greet SP president Akhilesh Yadav during a visit to Mayawati's bungalow in Lucknow.
Subsequently, he was appointed party vice president, a position he initially declined due to concerns of nepotism.
His active involvement escalated during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when he addressed an election rally in Agra for the SP-BSP-RLD alliance candidate during Mayawati's 48-hour ban from campaigning.
In May 2019, Akash was appointed as the party's national coordinator during a reshuffle after the Lok Sabha elections.
In 2022, he assumed the role of national coordinator and was given charge of other states.
In June 2023, Mayawati appointed him as joint in charge for assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, and Chhattisgarh.
Akash's wedding to Pragya Siddharth, daughter of former BSP MP Ashok Siddharth, in March garnered significant attention, underscoring the growing curiosity around the emerging leader.
While Mayawati will continue as the party chief for time being, this marks the first time she has officially named a successor.
She emphasised at the meet that Akash would work as any other party worker, contributing to the mission and movement of BSP.
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