Agencies: BSP chief Mayawati has just played her first upper caste card in the run up to urban local bodies elections. The Dalit leader has chosen Brijendra Vyas, aka Dum Dum Maharaj, a Brahmin, as the party’s mayoral candidate from Jhansi. It is the first announcement of a mayoral candidate by BSP, which is contesting elections for the 16 municipal corporations on its election symbol. Jhansi goes to poll in the third and last phase scheduled on November 29.
BSP’s Jhansi district president Munna Ahirwar confirmed that Mayawati has formally given her nod to the candidature of Vyas as party’s mayoral candidate. “He (Vyas) is a social worker who has worked among all communities,” he said, while speaking to TOI. Ahirwar, however, maintained that the candidature of Vyas was not driven by community considerations. “Jitau pratyashi chahiye tha aur wo Dum Dum Maharaj hain…(We wanted a winnable candidate and Dum Dum Maharaj qualifies),” he said.
Vyas had been elected MLA in 2002 on BSP ticket from Garautha assembly constituency in Jhansi but was denied ticket in 2007 polls. Vyas contested 2009 by-election from Jhansi as an Independent candidate but lost. In 2012, he joined the Congress and contested from Jhansi nagar assembly constituency but came fourth and had been in political wilderness since then. He rejoined BSP just before 2017 assembly elections but did not contest.
His candidature as party’s mayoral candidate brings the spotlight back on Mayawati’s tested Dalit-Brahmin social engineering formula that catapulted her to power with absolute majority in 2007 assembly elections.