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Mayawati cold-shoulders Akhilesh Das

By Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow
May 14, 2008 01:08 IST
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Within 72 hours of his induction in the Bahujan Samaj Party, former Congressman and ousted central minister Akhilesh Das has been shown his place in the new setup.

The euphoria, created in the Das camp on account of his being given a party  slot parallel to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's brahmin mascot Satish Misra, seemed to be fading out fast.

Despite his desperate bid to hog the limelight ,he was so accustomed to in the Congress, Das was not allowed anywhere close to the dais . His name was not mentioned in the 70 – minute long speech that Mayawati gave at the felicitation ceremony held in Lucknow on Tuesday to mark the completion of her first year in office.

He had left no stone unturned to draw the chief ministers' attention towards him. Umpteen hoardings, banners and posters carrying Das's pictures and a congratulatory note for Mayawati, were dotted all along the 8 – km route from her official residence to the function venue. All that effort apparently failed to pay any dividends.

On the other hand, Mayawati made it a point to hail the 'valuable contribution' of Satish Misra as well as her cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh, among others.

This came in sharp contrast to the indulgent manner in which Das' entry into the BSP was eulogized barely 72 hours ago. Not only did Mayawati name the publicity hungry Das as national general secretary of the BSP, but also declared him as the prospective party nominee for the Lucknow Lok Sabha seat.

It was clearly a windfall for him, as it had been a foregone conclusion that the BSP would field the Uttar Pradesh Urban Development Minister Nakul Dubey from this prestigious seat. Knowing Nakul's proximity to Satish Misra, political observers had no reason to doubt his candidature for the Lucknow parliamentary seat which has a dominance of brahmin votes.

Both announcements for Das were seen as a setback for Satish Misra and his brahmin following.

Tuesday's cold shoulder to Das was apparently a reflection of Mayawati's  shrewd balancing act.


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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow