Akhilesh Das joins Bahujan Samaj Party

May 10th, 2008 - 5:28 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

Lucknow, May 10 (IANS) Akhilesh Das, former central government minister and Congress Rajya Sabha MP who recently resigned from the upper house of parliament, was formally inducted into the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) here Saturday. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati appointed him as the party’s national general secretary in addition to Satish Misra, a Brahmin who was the only one on this coveted position so far.

She declared Das as the BSP nominee for the Lucknow Lok Sabha seat. Das - who had been dropped from the central ministry in the last reshuffle - reportedly decided to quit the Congress when he was not given the party nomination for the seat.

The UP chief minister plans to make inroads among members of the trading community with the help of Das.

“I have told him to initially devote his energies towards contesting the Lucknow parliamentary election. And once that is over, Akhilesh Das would go round the country mobilising the support of the Vaishya (trader) caste for the BSP,” said Mayawati.

The induction ritual was organised amid much fanfare by Das himself at Hotel Taj Residency that was thronged by thousands of his supporters including a large number of employees of the multiple educational institutions run by him.

Apparently well-rehearsed, the supporters and employees applauded each time Das praised Mayawati, to which she promptly responded with an obliging smile.

He described Mayawati as the “greatest leader of all times”.

Terming her as a “potential prime minister”, Das said: “If there is any rightful and deserving leader for the country’s top position, it is only Mayawati.”

Das who until a few weeks back hailed Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi as “ultimate leaders of the nation”, went on to describe the BSP chief as a leader with “unparalleled calibre and distinction”.

As if to reassure Mayawati of his unflinching loyalty, the party hopper said: “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 said that apart from “other factors” that led to his disillusionment with the Congress, “his decision to quit the Congress was also prompted by the UPA government’s refusal to concede Mayawati’s demand for a special economic package for the development of the backward Bundelkhand and Purvanchal regions of Uttar Pradesh”.

Mayawati has been demanding a package of Rs.800 billion for the economic upliftment of the two regions.

Those who switched loyalties from the Congress to the BSP along with Das include member of the legislative council (MLC) Siraj Mehndi and a dozen municipal corporators.

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