Lucknow: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati received yet another jolt on Monday when her trusted lieutenant Brajesh Pathak, who spearheaded the assimilation of Brahmins in the party fold, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Minutes before he joined the BJP in New Delhi in the presence of party President Amit Shah, Pathak was expelled from the BSP.
The departure of Pathak is sure to hurt Mayawati as he was a tall leader among the Brahmins and a credible face in Unnao, adjoining the state capital Lucknow. After S.C. Mishra, he was considered the most acceptable Brahmin leader in the party.
It was rumoured a fortnight back that Pathak was leaving the BSP but he himself came out and trashed the reports as baseless. In fact, he was the media convener of the Sunday rally of Mayawati in Agra.
However, on Monday as he was shown the door by Mayawati, the party seems to have lost an important leader as it braces for the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Two of her trusted leaders — Swamy Prasad Maurya and R.K. Chowdhary — recently quit the party.
While Maurya has joined the BJP and has vowed to install a majority BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, Chowdhary recently held a rally with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Pathak’s exit from the BSP is set to hurt it in a big way, feel political observers as he was known to be the architect of the upper caste embrace of the BSP in 2007, which ultimately led to a full majority government of the BSP.
Pathak was a Lok Sabha member from Unnao in 2004 and had started his political career from the Lucknow University. He had contested the state assembly election from Malwan in Hardoi on a Congress ticket in 2002 but lost narrowly to BSP candidate by 130 votes. He has been Rajya Sabha member twice.
His wife Namrata Pathak enjoyed a state minister rank during the Mayawati regime in 2007-2012. She is now likely to join the BJP soon.