Lucknow: BSP chief Mayawati recently announced that she doesn’t need to anoint a successor as she is fully fit, but the former UP chief minister’s nephew Akash Anand is being increasingly seen in public and is starting to play an important role in the party’s activities on the ground.
Mayawati had launched him ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, following which she appointed him as the party’s national coordinator.
Akash, however, isn’t the only young face in the BSP.
Kapil Mishra, the son of BSP general secretary and the party’s second-in-command Satish Mishra, has been addressing Brahmin sammelans in Uttar Pradesh. Satish’s son-in-law Paresh Mishra has also been involved in managing the party’s events on the ground.
All three are part of the BSP’s next generation leaders who have the full support of the high command.
A BSP source told ThePrint that their growing influence is evident at the party headquarters in Lucknow.
“At the BSP office in Lucknow, apart from the cars of Behenji (Mayawati) and Satish Mishra, only those of Akash, Kapil and Paresh are not checked at the entry gates. This shows their power in the party,” the source said. “No one else is allowed to enter the party’s office without security checks. Even party MPs and MLAs also go inside after security checks.”
The source added that the party’s functionaries have also started treating the trio as the second rung of leadership. “Many leaders get time with Behenji only through these three youngsters.”
Rise of the nephew
While she formally inducted him into the party only in 2019, Mayawati first thrust the 26-year-old Akash into the spotlight in 2017 when in September of that year, she introduced him to party workers.
A second BSP source said that Akash’s activities in the party have intensified in the past few months.
“Akash not only attends all important meetings of the party but also addresses in many of these meetings, especially when Mayawati is not present in the meetings,” the source said.
“He begins his addresses with ‘Behenji ka sandesh (a message from Mayawati)’ and pitches in with ideas and strategies for the party’s rallies and other events. He is now considered as the third-most powerful personality, after Mayawati and Satish Mishra, in the party.”
A third BSP source said that as national coordinator, Akash has been focussing on elections in Punjab, where the party has inked an alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
“He was present when this alliance was finalised in Punjab. He has also been addressing party meetings regarding the alliance over the last few weeks,” the source said. “Akash recently addressed the BSP’s Alakh Jagao rally in Jalandhar where he spoke about the contribution of Kanshiram to the Bahujan movement.”
The source added that though Akash is more focussed on Punjab, he is also a part of the BSP’s strategy team for UP elections.
“In the coming days, we will see him addressing workers in western UP,” the source said. “He was a part of the party’s strategy planning in the elections that were held in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Assam and Bihar but for the UP polls, he will definitely have a bigger role. He may address several youth meets, as the party is looking to focus on first and second-time voters.”
A senior BSP functionary told ThePrint that Akash has been aiding his aunt on another front — social media.
“Akash is a major reason behind Mayawati’s entry on twitter. His team has a main role in managing her social media account,” the functionary said. “Mayawati tweets almost every day these days. Her social media presence has increased in the last few months. Akash and his team look after the content and the graphics as well.”
BSP’s ‘youngest Brahmin face’
The 35-year-old Kapil Mishra is being dubbed as the BSP’s youngest Brahmin face. A lawyer who studied in Noida, Kapil has been addressing the party’s Brahmin sammelans.
Kapil’s brother-in-law Paresh Mishra is also active in the party. He not only attends important meetings but also unofficially handles the party’s media management.
Both Kapil and Paresh have a role focussed mainly on UP politics.
According to a source in Satish Mishra’s office, “Kapil and Paresh are handling the management of the Brahmin sammelans, one of the most ambitious campaigns of our party to woo Brahmin voters. Among workers also Kapil and Paresh are getting acceptability, as both are close to the party’s high-command.
“They both are the brains behind these Brahmin sammelans. Party insiders also appreciate their role behind the media attention that the BSP has been getting in the last few weeks.”
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)