- Akash Anand, 24, has been seen in several photos alongside Mayawati
- Mayawati hit out at those "targeting her nephew"
- She also hit out at nepotism accusations from her critics
As photos emerged of Akhilesh Yadav greeting Mayawati on her birthday and gifting her a shawl, a young man standing next to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) drew media attention. Mayawati today confirmed that he is the son of her younger brother, and hit out at those "targeting her nephew".
Akash Anand, 24, has been seen in several photos alongside Mayawati and other top BSP leaders. His father Anand Kumar, Mayawati's brother, is a former BSP vice president. Akash has not just been seen at multiple BSP events but also has accompanied his aunt on the 2017 Uttar Pradesh state poll campaign.
There was speculation in the media that the MBA is being groomed for a bigger role. Mayawati today appeared to confirm that even as she hit out at nepotism accusations from her critics.
"I am a disciple of Kanshi Ram, so to give a 'tit for tat' answer I will make Akash join the BSP movement and make him learn. If some casteist and anti-Dalit section of the media has a problem with that, then let it be. Our party doesn't care," Mayawati said in her statement.
Mayawati has always denied promoting her family members in the party and in May, she had declared that no one in her family would be given a post. In 2007, she had also announced that her successor would not be from her family.
The former chief minister said her younger brother and his family had been struggling since 2003 to support her. "He has been selflessly supporting the party," she said.
The buzz about her nephew was linked to nervousness among rival parties about her alliance with former enemy Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh for the national election, Mayawati said.
"The rise in the popularity of BSP and its alliance with SP has created unrest among parties and leaders who are anti-Dalits. Instead of fighting us fair and square, they are making absurd remarks against us and conspiring with TV channels," she said. "We know how to give it back to them."