LUCKNOW: Making the fifth change in the leadership of her party in Lok Sabha in less than a year, BSP chief Mayawati has now appointed first time MP Ritesh Pandey (38), a foreign educated Brahmin from Ambedkarnagar, to head the party in the lower house.
Pandey has replaced Danish Ali, who joined BSP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and was being perceived as the party’s Muslim face.
While announcing Pandey’s appointment, Mayawati said that since a Muslim was already heading BSP’s state unit, she needed to give representation to other communities. Incidentally, with Pandey’s appointment, two Brahmins are now heading the party in Parliament — Ritesh Pandey in Lok Sabha and SC Mishra in Rajya Sabha.
Ali’s removal, his second since August, comes in an apparent bid to ensure “equal representation” of all communities within BSP, though sources in the party said Mayawati was unhappy with his frequent challenging of her hold over the party. “To bring about social equality in BSP, we have had to make some changes in the party since the Lok Sabha leader and UP state president are both from the same community. Ritesh Pandey is now the leader of the party in Lok Sabha while Malook Nagar is the deputy leader. BSP state president Munqad Ali will remain in his position,” Mayawati said. Ali, who was earlier the Janata Dal (Secular) general secretary in Karnataka, has experienced a rocky ride in BSP. Appointed leader of the party in Lok Sabha in June, he was first removed in August 2019 when he reportedly disagreed with the party’s support to the Centre on revocation of Article 370.

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