NEW DELHI: Taking on allegations of nepotism levelled against her, Bahujan Samajwadi Party supremo Mayawati on Thursday announced that she will make her nephew Akash Anand join the "BSP movement" and give him a chance to learn the ropes.
She claimed there was a rise in the BSP's popularity after its alliance with the Samajwadi Party and this has created unrest among some parties and leaders.
"Instead of fighting us fairly, they are making absurd remarks against us and conspiring with the help of some casteist and anti-Dalit TV channels. I will make Akash join the BSP movement and give him a chance to learn," she said in a statement.
Her comments follow reports in a section of the media that her nephew would be her heir apparent.
In his mid-twenties, Akash is the son of Mayawati's brother Anand Kumar.
In 2017, she had introduced him to senior party functionaries.
She had told them that he is an MBA graduate from London and would also be involved in party affairs.
He was a prominent face in recent meetings Mayawati had with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav and her birthday celebrations.
It is widely believed in Uttar Pradesh that giving prominence to Akash, she is trying to attract Dalit youths ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The BSP is often perceived as a 'closed door' party with little flexibility.
Accusing the "casteist and anti-Dalit" media of raising issues of nepotism, she said she was a disciple of Kanshi Ram and would give them a befitting reply.
If anyone has problems with that, so be it, her party does not care, Mayawati said.
She said her younger brother Anand Kumar and his family had selflessly struggled since 2003 to support her and the BSP but never sought a party position.
Anand Kumar was made the vice president of the BSP for "non-political" affairs.
But Mayawati said he stepped down from the post recently on his own to avoid allegations of nepotism.