Lucknow, May 10: Four days after resigning from Congress, former Union Minister Akhilesh Das today joined the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and was straight away appointed party national general secretary by BSP chief Mayawati.
Chief Minister and BSP President Mayawati made announcement to this effect at a function organised this afternoon. She also announced that Akhilesh Das would be the BSP's candidate from Lucknow parliamentary constituency which is currently represented by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The former Union Minister of State for Steel, Mr Das joined the party along with several supporters.
He was stripped of the Ministerial berth at the Centre last month and had announced his resignation from the Congress and membership of Rajya Sabha on May 6 last in New Delhi citing dominance of a coterie around Congress General Secretarty Rahul Gandhi as the prime reason for his decision to quit the party.
Mr Das, son of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister late Banarasi Das, had also been the Mayor of Lucknow and was active in the social circles for long.
An overwhelmed Mr Das was in tears when Ms Mayawati announced his joining as well giving him the post of BSP's General Secretary.
She said after the Lok Sabha polls, Mr Das would be touring other parts of the country to muster support of Vaishya community for the BSP, the role another General Secretary Satish Chandra Mishra was entrusted with vis-a-vis Brahmin support to the BSP in the last Assembly polls.
The BSP supremo, in her brief address on the occasion, said the BSP's principle of 'Sarva Jan Hitaya, Sarva Jan Sukhaya ( Welfare of all sections)' motivated Mr Das to join her party. Mr Das echoed the views and assured her to uphold such ideology of the BSP.
In his address, Mr Das said he was dissatisfied with the policies of the Congress specially with regards to backward areas of Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal.
Besides Mr Satish Chandra Mishra, senior party functioneries present on the occasion were Naseemuddin Siddiqui, Babu Singh Kushwaha, Indrajeet Saroj, State President Swami Prasad Maurya and other senior BSP leaders.
Several Congressmen including Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee Vice-President Siraj Mehndi, General Secretary Hanuman Tripathi, district Congress chief Vipin Bihari Shukla, city Congress chief Achal Mehrotra, 14 Congress corporators of Lucknow Nagar Nigam and several party workers also resigned from the party in support of Mr Das.
Mr Das, an educationist who runs several educational institutions in Lucknow, had been active in the Congress since last many years and his move came as a jolt to the Congress, which is already fighting a battle of survival in UP.