New Game Plans

It seems that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is not happy with the Congress’s decision to make the newly appointed Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde the Leader of the House in place of Pranab Mukherjee. It’s not that the BSP has doubts over Shinde’s ability. Neither are they worried that Shinde, despite being an unsuccessful Power Minister, has been given two promotions (Home Minister and Leader of the House). But the BSP thinks that the Congress, by appointing Shinde is eying the Dalits. The BSP supremo is not happy with the way in which Shinde is glorifying his Dalit identity after becoming the Home Minister. Analysts are also surprised how, suddenly, Shinde is getting that much  respect,  that too, when the United Progressive Alliance’s (UPA’s) important coalition partner’s  leader, Sharad Pawar, was unhappy with Shinde’s promotion. It is said that Maharashtra satrap Sharad Pawar was the one who introduced Shinde to politics, and he never wanted to see him moving forward. During the fight for number two in the party, this issue was raised by the Maharashtra’s satrap. However, the BSP is seeing it in connection with the Dalit vote bank. The BSP thinks that the Congress is playing a ‘big game’ in the name of Shinde.
After Shinde’s promotion, BSP supremo Mayawati has also got down to consolidating her party’s position. The BSP, under its new strategy of increasing penetration among the Dalits, has taken many steps. The party is reuniting the Dalit thinkers through its cadre leaders, as it did in 2007. In 2007, before securing victory in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections, Mayawati was always seen surrounded by a core group of cadre leaders. The main work of this group was to implement the organisational policies of the BSP, and move forward on its mission. During this period Mayawati’s core group consisted of big leaders like Kamalkant Gautam, Babu Singh Kushwaha, Swami Prasad Maurya, Nasimuddin Siddiqui, Balihari Babu and Gandhi Azad. All these leaders had influence in their regions, but after coming to power Mayawati started to talk about ‘Sarva Jan Hitay’ in place of ‘Bahujan Hitay’. Apart from Swami Prasad Maurya and Nasimuddin Siddiqui, all other leaders were pushed to the sidelines. Swami Prasad Maurya also did not have the same status as earlier. Leaders like Balihari Babu and Babu Singh Kushwaha were not able to stick with the party during these winds of change. Gandhi Azad and Kamalkant Gautam were sidelined and were put in charge of the party in Bihar and Himachal Pradesh. The changing situation could bring these leaders into the mainstream of BSP. It is said that Satish Chandra Mishra, who played a major role in the victory of 2007 Assembly Elections by his social engineering formula, has agreed with Mayawati to reunite the Dalit thinkers. After the failure of the social engineering formula in Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections in 2012, BSP has learned that the same set of policies is not going to work every time. With Mayawati’s Dalit affection spurting,  leaders who were involved in corruption and criminal activities during BSP’s tenure have struck a  lottery. These leaders had a strong grip in the community. Investigation is still on in many corruption and criminal cases, but still these leaders are being brought forward.

The BSP thinks that the Congress, by appointing Shinde is eying the Dalits. The BSP supremo is not happy with the way in which Shinde is glorifying his Dalit identity after becoming the Home Minister.

Within months of being ousted from power in UP, the people who were involved in corruption and criminal activities were given influential positions in the party. Ram Achal Rajbhar was appointed as the State President, Nasimuddin Siddiqui was appointed as the Leader of Opposition and Swami Prasad Maurya was made General Secretary of the party at the national level. Maurya was very powerful during Mayawati’s tenure also. He was made a Cabinet Minister and also the Leader of the House in the Legislative Council. A few days later when the statue of Mayawati was broken in Lucknow, Maurya came out and showed his opposition, which made the Samajwadi Party go on the back-foot. While he was the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, an attachment warrant and two non-bailable warrants  in attempt to murder cases were issued against  Maurya. One of the attempt to murder cases against him and two other people was registered on 30 July 1987 in Dalmau Police Station of Rae Bareli district. Cases of corruption were registered against him while he was a Minster in Mayawati’s tenure. But because he was in Mayawati’s good books, he remained a Minister. He was elected as a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Padrauna in Kushinagar and Dalmau in Rae Bareli. After losing the Lok Sabha Elections in 2009 he was again elected in the by-elections to the State Legislative Assembly. Under Mayawati’s tenure he had departments like Panchayati Raj and Cooperative Department. While being the Panchayati Raj Minister, he was accused of corruption in the construction of dry toilets in the state. He was also accused of taking money from unemployed people in the name of giving them jobs.
Maurya is not the only Minister in the BSP who was accused of corruption charges. Almost 20 Ministers had lost their position due to such charges. During the Assembly Elections tickets were given to people who were removed from their post after the Lokayukta’s intervention. One such name was of Rajesh Tripathi from Gorakhpur. A leader like Ram Achal Rajbhar who has corruption and criminal charges registered against him, was not given a party ticket in Assembly Elections, but was made State President. Not only this, he was given more power than all other State Presidents.


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