DynaSty in BSP, aS Maya’S Brother takeS centre StaGe
‘Anand Kumar takes all key decisions, from ticket distribution to campaigning’.
The el evation of Anand Kuma r, Mayawati’s younger brother, to the post of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) vice president earlier this year, is being seen by many political experts as Mayawati’s succession plan.
Kumar will continue with his business interests as before and will help in the functioning of the party. However, according to a close BSP functionary, Kumar is now the new boss in BSP and takes almost all decisions in the party, from ticket distribution to campaigning. For the first time, the BSP is contesting the ongoing local body polls in the state on its symbol (elephant) and Kumar has been given a free hand to manage the polls in the state.
A source close to the BSP told The Sunday Guardian: “The BSP is witnessing a tough time, as the party is fighting on two fronts. On the one hand, the BSP is facing a leadership crisis and, on the other hand, the party is struggling to retain its disgruntled leaders within. Most of the second line of BSP leaders have already left the party and, in such a scenario, Mayawati finds Kumar suitable among others to lead the BSP.”
However, Kumar’s appointment has also attracted criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh.
Suresh Rana, BJP legislator from Shamli, accused the BSP of promoting dynastic politics like Mulayam Singh Yadav of SP and Lalu Yadav of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). “The BSP claims to be the party of Dalits and marginalised people, but in reality the party supremo is promoting her family members in politics like Mulayam Singh and Lalu Yadav,” Rana told The Sunday Guardian. Denying BJP’s allegation, Mahipal Singh, former BSP legislator from Saharanpur, said: “By appointing Kumar as vice president, the BSP will be able to get the spotlight back and it will win the hearts of Dalits in the state.”
“The apparent shift of the Dalits, a traditional BSP vote bank, towards the BJP—first during the Lok Sabha elections and then in the UP Assembly election— has hindered the prospects of BSP. Kumar’s appointment will certainly make the party stronger in UP,” Singh added.
Over the past decade, Kumar, who worked as a government clerk in Noida, has transformed into a real estate and hospitality sector baron, with properties in Mussoorie, Siliguri, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Lucknow.
He had stayed away from the limelight until recently when the Enforcement Directorate ( ED) claimed it had detected that Rs 104 crore in cash was deposited in two accounts, including one belonging to Kumar and another of the BSP. Income tax authorities are also probing the extraordi- nary profits his companies have made. As on date, Kumar and his wife are on the board of directors of over 10 companies.
These companies own assets worth hundreds of crores and most of these are profit-making, even as some have been the subject of investigation by Central agencies.
Kumar’s fortunes changed during Mayawati’s third stint as Chief Minister in 2002-2003 in UP. After the BJP reaching new heights in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati and her BSP find themselves on the margins of UP politics.