BSP insiders are watching with interest the new role of legal troubleshooter assigned to party general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra by Mayawati. The move comes close on the heels of the setbacks faced by the party in the recent Lok Sabha elections,after which the BSP chief indicated that she was reverting to her old agenda of Bahujan Samaj.
A close Mayawati aide and a Brahmin,Mishra was seen as a prominent symbol and executer of Mayawatis social engineering experiment,which paid off handsomely in the 2007 Assembly elections.
Some party leaders believe that by turning to Mishra,a lawyer,to defend her in the spree of cases,Mayawati is seeking to sideline him politically.
It was on July 4 that the Chief Minister announced that Mishra would dedicate 80 per cent of his time on legal matters related to her government and the BSP. Simultaneously,she made it clear that she would herself now take over the job of wooing upper castes to the party,a responsibility lying with Mishra so long.
The BSP general secretarys supporters are worried that Mishras future may now depend on how effectively he handles these legal cases. His performance as states counsel would decide his political fate in the BSP, says an MLA considered close to him.
Mishra tasted his first success on Thursday when the Supreme Court allowed the state government to demolish the Lucknow jail for construction of an ecological park.
But notwithstanding Mishras future in the BSP,most of his supporters are unhappy at the manner in which Mayawati made the announcement about his new role at meetings with party leaders. The Chief Minister could have avoided making this public. After all Mishraji is considered the chief architect of the Brahmin association with the BSP, said one of them.
However,there is another faction in the BSP that sees Mishras new role as an indication of the trust Mayawati places in him.
According to sources,the BSP chief has been worried over the growing number of PILs challenging her governments decisions in court.
The lawyers who represent the state government in the high court and the Supreme Court are selected by Mishraji, says one leader,arguing that winning these cases was a matter of prestige for Mishra. He adds that the BSP general secretary was well aware of his limits in politics.
Sources add that Mayawati has also assured Mishras supporters in both the ministry and bureaucracy that their position was secure irrespective of the outcome of the legal battles.