Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Saturday elected Gaya Charan Dinkar, a Dalit MLA from Naraini seat of Banda district in Bundelkhand region, as its new Legislature Party leader after formally removing Swami Prasad Maurya, who quit the party three days ago, from the post. The decision was taken in a meeting of the BSP Legislature Party here in the presence of party chief Mayawati.
Dinkar, 56, accompanied by party MLAs, later met Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey so that he could be designated as Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, the post that Maurya held.
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Mayawati’s decision to pick low-profile Dinkar, a four-time MLA, shows her focus on keeping BSP’s traditional support base intact. She did not choose an OBC leader to replace Maurya, who came from a backward caste.
Later she told reporters that the BSP will continue to give people from Kushwaha-Maurya caste the “respect and honour” like it did before Maurya’s exit. She also claimed the caste group will remain with BSP as Maurya “never toiled for Maurya, Shakya, Kushwaha and Saini communities and all that he wanted was for himself and his close family”.
Dinkar, one of the oldest BSP leaders in Bundelkhand region, was first elected an MLA in 1991. He was rural development minister in the BSP-BJP coalition government headed by Mayawati in 2002. One of his aides said Dinkar has been with the BSP since after it was founded in 1984. “He used to accompany BSP founder Kanshi Ram and often served tea to him during his campaign in rural areas of Bundelkhand,” said the aide.
Before the meeting began at party’s state headquarters, the BSP revoked expulsion of Brajesh Kumar, the MLA from Mallawan in Hardoi. This comes a day after the party revoked the expulsion of Harvinder Kumar alias Romi Sahni, the MLA from Pallia. Both were expelled a week ago. A party statement said Kumar’s expulsion was revoked after he submitted an application to BSP chief, expressing regret for his “indiscipline” and “anti-party activities”, and assuring not to repeat such conduct.