BJP vice-president Dayashankar Singh, who was sacked after his controversial remarks against BSP chief Mayawati on Wednesday, was seen as crucial to the party’s plans in eastern Uttar Pradesh.
His appointment to the post just last week was considered as an attempt to attract the ‘Thakur’ voters in the region, which has a significant number of ‘Thakur’ and ‘Bhumihar’ voters and which the BJP is focusing on as part of its 2017 Assembly polls campaign.
The 44-year-old, who may have squandered his hopes of getting a ticket from the Ballia Assembly seat, made his intemperate remarks at a felicitation ceremony organised by local workers in Mau district in eastern Uttar Pradesh for his appointment.
In the MLC elections last month, polling had to be held because the BJP fielded Dayashankar as second candidate despite not having the required number of MLAs as voters. While he lost, Dayashankar had got over 10 first preference votes from other parties.
The BJP had done this in the January 2015 elections for 12 MLC seats too, when it had fielded Dayashankar as second nominee while RSS leader and the party’s Kashi region president, Laxman Acharya, was its first candidate.
Being Thakur, Dayashankar was earlier known to be in the good books of Union Home Minister and UP leader Rajnath Singh. However, he had lost Rajnath’s backing after he had resigned from the party post he held then against the elevation of Rajnath’s son Pankaj Singh as party state general secretary, in the middle of the 2012 Assembly polls, while sidelining other senior leaders.
In 2007 too, Dayashankar had contested from Ballia Assembly seat, but came fifth. In 2012, the BJP had denied him a ticket.
Dayashankar was back in favour though, and the BJP had assigned him the responsibility of mobilising the gathering for the public meeting held in Ballia on May 1 this year, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the flagship Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, to provide LPG connections to BPL households in the country. With his elevation to vice-president, Dayashankar had every reason to believe the Ballia ticket would be his in 2017.
A student leader, he was elected the students’ union president of Lucknow University in 1999, after having been elected its general secretary the year before, both times as a nominee of the ABVP. However, he never held any post in the RSS student wing.
Dayashankar joined the BJP soon after finishing his bachelor’s in law and gradually climbed up the ranks of the BJP Yuva Morcha (BJYM), rising to national vice-president. He also held the post of in-charge of UP BJYM.
Under the previous BJP state president, Laxmikant Bajpai, Dayashankar was party state secretary.