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BSP has another VP; Maya keeps the suspense on

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
August 20, 2008 00:39 IST
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In an obvious bid to leave everyone guessing on her political heir, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati appointed a second national vice-president of the party, late Tuesday night.

The move to name Alok Kumar Verma as the party's second national vice-president came close on the heels of speculation in a section of the media that the secretly appointed  successor to her legacy was none other than BSP vice president Raja Ram, a member of UP's upper house (State Legislative Council).

Verma was as lesser known in the party as Raja Ram. Therefore, political analysts were of the view that both the leaders were given the otherwise all important position of party's national vice president only to confuse BSP's political rivals and to let them go on making their wild guesses.

Speculation over her successor was rife ever since
Mayawati declared at a BSP conclave in Lucknow on August 9 , "I have selected my successor , who is about 18- 20 years younger to me and belongs to my own - chamar - community ;  I have left his name in a sealed packet kept with one of my close confidante , who will open the packet only in the event of my sudden death or if I am jailed in the corruption cases fabricated against me."

While both her political adversaries and the media went on a wild guessing spree , Mayawati was least amused .

A section of the media named Raja Ram as the "undeclared" successor.  What made the media zero in on Raja Ram was also the fact that he was the only national vice-president of the party on the same lines as  Mayawati , who was the sole vice president of the party during  BSP founder- president Kanshi Ram's lifetime.

While aggressively refuting media reports, a late-night party release named Alok Kumar Verma as yet another vice president.

Significantly, no other details of Verma were available . Sources close to Mayawati chose to  remain tight-lipped on the issue .

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow