Pressure or position: The interesting case of Akash Anand's dismissal

We also have Gora Chatta Jawan. (We also have a fair and handsome young man) who can respond to political opponents and the media in their language. This was the impression a senior leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party in western Uttar Pradesh had about Akash Anand, the party's national coordinator at the time, when he addressed a rally in Ghaziabad on April 7.

A month later, Mr. Anand, who completed a post-graduate degree in London before entering politics, was sacked by his aunt and BSP supremo Mayawati after he was accused of violating the model poll code. A case was registered. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in its speeches…

Party sources are tight-lipped on their party chief's decision to remove Mr. Anand until “he matures,” but they point to parts of Mr. Anand's speeches that were unparliamentary and politically mature. were seen

BJP was targeted

A glance at his speeches from the Ghaziabad rally shows that he was more clearly targeting the BJP than the Samajwadi Party. He questioned the “financial prudence” of the BJP's ration doles, saying it was “an opium being fed to 80 crore Indians”. He made a quick calculation to tell the audience that they would be much better off if the government ensured even class IV jobs for them. “You would have earned at least Rs 2.5 lakh a year but now you are getting a maximum of Rs 12,000 a year as ration.” He alleged that Rs 2 lakh crore of people's taxes go into feeding 80 crore Indians. He said that this tax money, which should have been spent on building schools, hospitals and providing clean water, is being spent on ration.

He also emphasized that BSP is the only party that has come clean in the recent disclosure of electoral bond scheme data. Only when he felt that the audience was not responding to his math and English phrases would he switch to a more aggressive tone, perhaps to take on the rising competition from Azad Samaj Party's Chandrasekhar Azad.

'B-Team of BJP'

Observers said that his speeches did not go well with regard to governance. It also forced the right-wing ecosystem to question the source of BSP's funding. Mr. Anand's removal in the middle of the election process is being seen as a surrender of the BSP to the BJP, which will help the Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance. Now as far as Ms. Mayawati's Muslim vote bank is concerned, the BSP has no fig leaf left to hide, and the Jatavs are also worried.

There is a segment of her community that feels she is running with rabbits and hunting with wolves in this election. Although it has fielded 20 Muslims and four Yadavs to kill the SP's chances, there are several seats where their candidates are also making the BJP sweat this summer.

From the outside, a glance at the profile of BSP candidates reveals two things. One, as always, the party has chosen people who can fund their own elections. Second, the caste and religion profile of the candidates suggests that, this time, the party has carefully chosen candidates who could hurt the chances of both the SP and the BJP, depending on whether one Who is the main competitor for the particular seat? However, as the date for the last round of nominations approached, it seems that the party was in a hurry to change and field candidates that would hurt the SP's chances. He once again blamed the 'B-team of the BJP' against the party and speculations that the tide was turning have gained some traction.

Change of vote bank

BAMCEF (Backward and Minority Communities Employees' Federation) sources said the answer lies in a shift in the party's core vote bank to the SP-Congress alliance in some seats that had voted in the first three phases. “After the dismissal, the message in the community is clear. A mother goat, protecting her baby from being bitten. (The mother goat saving her kid from slaughter), but some people also feel that there is an inherent message to the community,” said a senior member of BAMCEF in Ita.

In fact, it is the BAMCEF, founded by the late Kanshi Ram and once the ideological fountainhead of the BSP, that is a driving force behind the shift in the Jatav vote towards the Congress-SP alliance in some seats in the state. Being seen as BAMCEF members are working in the rural belt to impress upon the community that the organization can counter the influence of the RSS, and that, in the last few years, the BSP has Social organization has not been given its right in the political arena. “Politicians come and go but the interests of the community are paramount,” said one member.

In some seats like Agra and Bulandshahr, he said, saving the identity of the Ambedkarite movement felt more important than saving reservation for the community. In many other seats, however, it is the other way around. In the past, Yadav and Jatav disputes were settled by bullets, but this time we are on the same side to save the Constitution and reservation. We are not surrendering ourselves to SP. It is just a compromise formula for a common goal,” he said.

Bowing to BJP pressure

BJP and BSP have a long love-hate relationship in the state. In 2022, in an interview amid a polarizing assembly election, Union Home Minister Amit Shah praised Ms Mayawati's performance, sparking speculation. However, this time Ms Mayawati took two strange decisions after Mr Shah's visit to Lucknow last week.

Apart from sacking Mr. Anand, he also changed the ticket to Shreekala Reddy, wife of Rajput strongman Dhananjay Singh, days after she was granted bail. Jaunpur is the only seat where BSP had a real chance of winning. While BSP sources said Mrs Reddy was planning to withdraw her candidature after a compromise with the BJP, Mr Singh has denied the allegations and accused the BSP of coming under pressure. As polling moves towards the eastern parts of the state, the BSP's prospects seem to be heading south.

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