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Akhilesh Das sings paeans for Mayawati

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
May 10, 2008 23:47 IST
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Former Congressman Akhilesh Das, who was formally inducted into the Bahujan Samaj Party in Lucknow Saturday, has already begun to sing paeans for his new political mentor - Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati.

Interestingly, the lines were the same as he once used for Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi; only the name had changed to 'Behenji'.

The sycophancy was blatantly visible at the loud function organised at the swanky Taj Residency on Saturday afternoon.

The hotel's crystal room was flooded with employees from Das' multiple educational institutions who fitted in ideally as his supporters. Of course, there was one Member of the Legislative Council Siraj Mehndi and a dozen municipal corporators who were also in tow to applaud and raise cries of Mayawati zindabad at calculated intervals.

Das made it a point to repay Mayawati for the significant position of BSP's national general secretary that was conferred on him. "If there is anyone truly deserving to occupy the country's highest office of prime miniter, it is none other than Behen Mayawati," he declared amidst resounding applause by his well-tuned supporters.

Apparently, having rehearsed his lessons in sycophancy during his subaltern days in the Congress, he sounded just like an ardent Mayawati loyalist when he described her as the "greatest leader of all time".

Das, who until a few weeks ago, went about hailing Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi as the  "ultimate leaders of the nation" , went on to describe the BSP strong woman as "a leader with unparalleled calibre and unmatched distinction".

Known for his close proximity to Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav until not very long ago, Das sought to reassure Mayawati of his "total surrender" before her.  "I am 47 years old and have always remained a Congressman, but let me swear today that the 20 or 25 years that I have ahead, would be devoted to offering my services at your  feet," he declared with folded hands.

In an obvious bid to further impress her, Das went on to add, "Apart from other factors, my decision to quit the Congress was also prompted by the UPA government's refusal to concede Behenji's demand for a special economic package for the development of the backward Bundelkhand and Purvanchal regions of Uttar Pradesh".

Mayawati, it may be recalled, has been demanding a package of Rs 80,000 crores for economic upliftment of the two economically downtrodden regions in southern and eastern Uttar Pradesh respectively.

"I used to repeatedly raise such issues relating to the development of Uttar Pradesh at various fora of the central government; but far from considering these, the Congress leadership did not relish my moves," he alleged.

Last but not the least, Das added, "After holding discussions with my supporters, I arrived at the conclusion that I too must pitch in a bit to strengthen Mayawati's hands to achieve her mission of building an egalitarian society - a dream cherished by Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar and BSP founder the late Kanshi Ram".
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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow