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Once No. 2, Satish Misra sidelined as Maya looks to sharpen BSP’s Dalit face

BSP sources said Mayawati has asked Misra, 69, to devote himself mainly to fighting the party’s legal battles and look after its legal cell now.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow |
Updated: July 7, 2022 9:27:15 am
Mayawati has held three meetings of all top party functionaries and state office bearers in Lucknow so far. (Express Photo)

The BSP national general secretary, Satish Chandra Misra, was absent from the last two crucial organisational meetings of the party. His name was also missing from the list of the BSP’s star campaigners for the recent Azamgarh Lok Sabha bypoll, with sources saying that the party national president, Mayawati, has sidelined him.

BSP sources said Mayawati has asked Misra, 69, to devote himself mainly to fighting the party’s legal battles and look after its legal cell now. The BSP’s Brahmin face, Misra, used to be a key player in the party’s organisational affairs earlier besides handling its legal wing.

In the wake of the February-March Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, in which the BSP was completely decimated sinking to just a one-seat tally, Mayawati has held three meetings of all top party functionaries and state office bearers in Lucknow so far. Misra attended the first of these meetings on March 27 but was absent from the other two meetings held on May 29 and June 30, sources said. A section of BSP leaders cited Misra’s “health concerns” when asked about his absence from these crucial deliberations.

However a senior BSP leader told The Indian Express, “Misra ji has been asked not to hold organisational meetings. He has been kept away from political matters. He has been asked to look after only the legal cell of the party.”

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The Express tried to reach Misra but he did not respond to phone calls or text messages.

The BSP leader however said that Mayawati has been upset with Misra after the party’s disastrous performance in the UP Assembly polls in which he had handled the party’s campaign and had toured the entire state to hold “vichar goshtis (conventions)” in a bid to revive the “bhaichara (brotherhood)” of Brahmins with Dalits for the party. In the course of the polls, he had addressed 55 public meetings across the state.

The BSP leadership, however, got the feedback from the ground that various sections of the party leaders and rank and file, especially those belonging to the Dalit community, were not “comfortable” with Misra’s organisational management.

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Another party leader said that by clipping Misra’s wings, Mayawati has once again tried to reassure the Dalits, her party’s core base, that the BSP is their party and that she continues to remain its only leader.
Ahead of the UP polls, when the BSP supremo had decided to launch an outreach programme for women and youths, she had asked Misra’s wife Kalpana to hold “prabudha mahila vichar gosthi (intellectual women meet)” and the party’s “mahila sammelan (women conferences)” on the issues of “women security and honour” across the state.

Similarly, Misra’s son Kapil was then also asked to hold the BSP’s “yuva samvad (youth meet)” in the state.
In April, Misra suffered his first major setback when former minister and his close confidant, Nakul Dubey, was expelled from the BSP on charges of “indiscipline and indulgence in anti-party activities”. As the party’s another prominent Brahmin leader, Dubey had addressed vichar goshthis along with Misra. In the BSP Misra has always been regarded as the architect of the party’s Dalit-Brahmin social engineering that had catapulted it into power in UP in 2007 with absolute majority.

In the past six years, several senior leaders either quit the BSP or were expelled by Mayawati but Misra retained his No. 2 position in the party as Mayawati’s trusted lieutenant. After the formation of the BSP government in May 2007, he emerged as the second most powerful leader in the BSP after Mayawati, wielding tremendous clout as the party general secretary.

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A lawyer by profession, Misra had launched his innings in active politics in 2004 as the BSP national general secretary and its Rajya Sabha member. He had been the party’s face in the Rajya Sabha. His third term in the Upper House ended on July 4.

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First published on: 06-07-2022 at 11:25:14 am

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