LUCKNOW: All isn’t well in the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh as around eight months before the politically-crucial state goes to assembly polls, the Mayawati-led party expelled two senior leaders, including state legislature party leader Lalji Verma and former state party president Ramachal Rajbhar from the party for anti-party activities.
Verma and Rajbhar, both senior OBC leaders of the party and ministers in the erstwhile Mayawati government, are legislators from Ambedkar Nagar district of East UP.
The sacking of the two OBC leaders came close on the heels of party’s dismal performance in recently concluded Panchayat polls in the state, particularly in the Ambedkar Nagar district -- a bright spots for the BSP despite the dismal show in the 2017 Vidhan Sabha polls.
The BSP performed badly in the panchayat polls, finishing a distant third behind BJP and SP. The party’s political prospects were badly hurt in Ambedkar Nagar district, which has long been considered the party’s strong belt in the eastern UP.
As per the official BSP statement released on Thursday, both the MLAs have been expelled for anti-party activities during the recent panchayat polls and the two-time MLA from Mubarkpur seat of Azamgarh district Shah Alam ‘Guddu Jamali’ has been nominated the new leader of the party in the Vidhan Sabha.
With this most senior leaders of the party have either turned rebel or else been suspended/expelled from the party for hobnobbing with the prime opposition SP or the ruling BJP in UP.
According to informed political sources, the expulsion of the two senior OBC leaders from the party doesn’t augur well for the party in the powerful OBC segment, despite the party having appointed another OBC leader Bhima Rajbhar as the state party president last year.
The development assumes more significance as it has happened around eight months before the next assembly polls in the state. The two expelled leaders have reportedly been in touch with the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP for last few months.
Also, the expulsions mean that the BSP has so far seen 11 of its 19 MLAs turn rebel in UP. BSP had won 19 seats in 2017 assembly polls in the state.
Aslam Raini, one of the 11 rebel BSP MLAs, dubbed the latest expulsion of the two senior BSP leaders from the party as the forerunner about the end of the party in the state it ruled between 2007 and 2012. He blamed party national general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra for repeated expulsion and suspension of senior leaders from the party.
Raini, the legislator from Bhinga seat of East UP’s Shrawasti district was among the seven MLAs suspended by party supremo Mayawati for rebellion in the 2020 Rajya Sabha polls.