LUCKNOW: In a second setback to BSP in as many weeks, party supremo Mayawati's once trusted lieutenant and former minister RK Chaudhary quit today, accusing her of "auctioning" tickets for Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.
An unfazed BSP, however, downplayed 57-year-old Chaudhary's resignation, saying it will have no impact on the party.
"At election time, tickets are allotted to the person who pays the highest amount," he alleged at a hurriedly convened press conference to announce his resignation.
He said since the death of party founder Kanshi Ram, there has been a marked change in the working style of Mayawati and that veteran leaders, who functioned with missionary zeal, were not given adequate weightage.
Senior BSP leader Swami Prasad Maurya quit the party on June 22, saying he felt "suffocated" and accusing the party chief of "auctioning" tickets for the polls.
Hours after Chaudhary's announcement, state BSP chief Ram Achal Rajbhar said his resignation will have no impact on the party and described the rebel leader as "selfish".
"There is no place for selfish people in BSP...Chaudhary was expelled earlier too for his selfish motives...his departure had no effect earlier and will not have any impact this time too," he said.
Chaudhary said Kanshi Ram had united different castes under one banner and evolved them into a group which could not be "sold" and due to his concerted efforts, a vote bank was created in all Assembly constituencies in UP.
"But after Kanshi Ram, Mayawati started eyeing this non-saleable votebank and began selling tickets and BSP became a 'mandi' (wholesale market) for ticket selling...Under such circumstances, the party is no longer the mission of social change," he said in hard-hitting remarks.
Senior BSP leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Naseemudin Siddiqui said till the time Chaudhary was in BSP, the party could not form majority government.
"Now we will form majority government in the state," he said, adding, "In the past too, BSP came to power only after Chaudhary was expelled from BSP."