Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has announced the star campaigners for the upcoming Lucknow Cantt Assembly by-elections. The list with 20 names, released by the BSP, mentions the party supremo Mayawati, her nephew Akash Anand, who has notably been mentioned on number three followed by national general secretary, Satish Chandra Mishra.
The list of BSP's star campaigners has been submitted to the Election Commission. The 20 names who have been given the responsibility to campaign for the party include State President Munkad Ali, Bhimrao Ambedkar, RS Kushwaha, Gangaram Gautam, Naushad Ali, Chintamani and Haramesh Pasi.
Twenty-four-year-old Anand also featured on the BSP’s list of 20 star campaigners for the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year. Notably, Akash was seen attending public meetings which Mayawati addressed during the poll campaign. In June 2019, Mayawati elevated her brother Anand Kumar as the party’s national vice president and named her nephew Akash Anand as its national coordinator.
Anand’s ascent in the party ranks has triggered murmurs since the supremo has been vocal about her aversion to dynasty politics. While maintaining that the BSP does not follow nepotism "like the Congress or Samajwadi Party", Mayawati had defended her decision to elevate her brother as party vice president and termed it the party’s policy to provide an opportunity to its "committed workers".
Others on the list of star campaigners for the BSP in the upcoming bypolls include Dr. Sushil Kumar Munna, Harish Sailani, Mithlesh Gautham, Intizar Abdi alias Babi, Ramkishore Pal, Mithlesh Pankaj Gautam, VP Anand, Vijay Gautam, Dr. Vinod Bharti and Vinay Kashyap who have been tasked with the responsibility to promote the party for the Lucknow Cantt Assembly by-election.
Notably, the Lucknow Cantt seat fell vacant after BJP’s sitting MLA Rita Bahuguna Joshi won the Lok Sabha election in 2019 from Prayagraj and became the Member of Parliament. Joshi had switched over from the Congress and joined BJP in 2016. In the 2017 UP assembly election, she defeated Samajwadi Party candidate Aparna Yadav by a margin of over 33,000 votes.
Arun Dwivedi is the BSP candidate from Lucknow Cantt whereas Dilpreet Singh will contest for the Congress. The BJP is yet to announce its candidate for the same.
Besides Joshi, nine other lawmakers from the Rampur, Jalalpur, Iglas, Gangoh, Manikpur, Zaidpur, Pratapgarh, Balha and Ghosi assembly seats were elected to the Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in 2019, thereby necessitating by-elections in these constituencies. Hamirpur BJP MLA Ashok Kumar Singh Chandel was notably disqualified after conviction in a murder case.
The EC last week announced bypolls for 64 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha constituency across 18 states to be held on October 21 with the counting of votes scheduled for October 24 along with the Haryana and Maharashtra assembly elections.