|Satish Misra, Mayavati and Akhilesh Das Gupta
New Delhi, Oct. 2: The man seen as the architect of Mayavatis victory two years ago has fallen from grace.
Satish Misra has been done out of his status as the Uttar Pradesh chief ministers prime confidant by another politician and a bureaucrat.
His place has been taken over by fellow Rajya Sabha MP Akhilesh Das Gupta and Navneet Sehgal, who is secretary to the chief minister and heads the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation.
According to BSP sources, Misra fell out of favour for three reasons. One reason is the rainbow Brahmin-Dalit alliance that he had crafted in the 2007 state elections came apart in the Lok Sabha polls.
While sources conceded it was unfair to single Misra out because there were ground realities that Mayavati ignored, Misras apparent fault was he misled her into believing that she was heading for a near-clean sweep of the 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh.
The BSP ended up getting 18 one less than its 2004 tally.
After the defeat, Misras detractors in the BSP let it be known to Mayavati that he was allegedly in cahoots with the Congress and did nothing to check the flight of Brahmin votes to the rival party when the reality stared him in the face much before the elections.
Mayavati, sources said, was also told that he allegedly took undue advantage of the trust and power she had reposed in him and gave a larger share of the Lok Sabha tickets to Brahmins than he should have.
Attempts to contact Misra at his Lucknow residence failed. He is not speaking to the media these days, said an aide.
Second, it is believed that Mayavati felt he was not doing his best in handling her legal cases, particularly those related to the construction of her statues and memorials. The case is scheduled to come up for hearing in the Supreme Court next week. BSP sources said Misras fate might hinge on the outcome.
Third, in a party as regimented and centralised as the BSP, sources said Misras monumental folly was to spread the word that he would be appointed chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee on industry that the party was entitled to.
When reports to this effect appeared in the media, Mayavati apparently did not say a word. She quietly sent Das Guptas name to the Rajya Sabha secretariat.
When the official bulletin, notifying his appointment, was released, a source claimed Misra did not know what had hit him.
In Lucknows power corridors, awash with speculation, the word was it was not Das Guptas appointment that mattered but the perception of who was behind it. It was Sehgal, a bureaucrat said.
Sehgal, who was Das Guptas private secretary for the brief period when he was a minister of state in the UPAs first tenure, was instrumental in spiriting him away from the Congress to the BSP.
In the BSP, which doesnt exactly respect the dividing line between politics and bureaucracy, it is a done thing for officials to dabble in big-time politics.
Sehgal lobbied for a Lok Sabha ticket for Das Gupta from Lucknow (he lost the election) as he did for those who fought from Faizabad and Gonda where he had earlier worked as a district magistrate.
Although all his candidates lost, sources said that didnt affect his standing vis-à-vis Mayavati.
On the bureaucracy chessboard, Vinod Shankar Pandey, a Misra nominee, lost his clout with his mentors fall.
However, Shashank Shekhar Singh, who introduced Misra to Mayavati but was soon outstripped in the power sweepstakes, remains where he was, unaffected by the equations.