Tuesday, 28 June, 2022
HomePoliticsMayawati's BSP gets routed across UP, Punjab and Uttarakhand, faces existential crisis

Mayawati’s BSP gets routed across UP, Punjab and Uttarakhand, faces existential crisis

The party’s performance in UP, where it has a strong foothold in western and eastern parts, is a long way off from its performance in the 2017 assembly elections.

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New Delhi: The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has suffered a wipe-out across Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand. Party supremo Mayawati, who earlier said the BSP would get a full majority in Uttar Pradesh, is leading in just one seat in UP, won one seat in Punjab and won in one seat and is leading in another in Uttarakhand, according to Election Commission data as of 12.15 pm.

The party’s performance in UP, where it has a strong foothold in western and eastern parts, is a long way off from its performance in the 2017 assembly elections, when it won 19 seats and had a vote share of 22.3 per cent.

The BSP’s fortunes in UP have only plummeted in the last few elections. The party formed the government in the state in 2007, winning 206 out of 403 seats. However since then the seat share has only fallen with the party winning 80 seats in 2012, 19 in 2017, and now even fewer seats in 2022.

In Punjab, the party has always been a non-starter and has not won a single seat in the state legislature since 1997. In the 2017 elections, it got a vote share of 1.52 per cent. However, this time its alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal created the expectation of a better performance, yet the BSP has only got a vote share of 1.77 per cent so far.

In the 2017 assembly polls in Uttarakhand, the party got a vote share of 6.99 per cent which has come down to 4.82 per cent as of now. With zero seats in the state legislature currently, the BSP could manage to open its account (pending final results).

Also read: BJP set to retain power after crossing halfway mark in Uttarakhand, pulls away from Congress


Analysing the performance of the party in Uttar Pradesh, political analyst and scholar Sudha Pai explained that these results marked the BSP’s decline in the state, where it would once easily get a vote share of 20 per cent. Now, the party is down to 12.86 per cent, as of 9.15 pm. 

“With this vote percentage, this is a clear sign that the Jatavs are deserting the BSP. The BSP has not been doing well and is on the decline as it is facing an existential crisis. However, I would not write off the party so soon,” said Pai.

Pai explained that there is a perception among voters that the BSP has become weak, so it is now better to move to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), signalling that many of the BSP votes went to the BJP. She further explained that the cash welfare schemes have been helpful to the BJP as most of the marginalised Dalit voters are the poorest and in need of cash.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in an interview earlier, said the BSP is still a relevant party in UP, and that it would get significant votes from both Muslims and Jatavs.

Decoding this, Pai said that while Mayawati is still a tall leader in the state, there was no pan-state BSP movement in UP, and that many smaller Dalit groups in western and eastern UP were gaining a foothold. While they may not be successful currently, they can take Mayawati’s place eventually.

‘BSP never succeeded in understanding Dalits outside UP’

Unlike UP, where the BSP has formed the government and been a key player in the past, in Punjab, it has always been a non-entity, last winning a seat in the state legislature only in 1992.

The reason behind this, explained Prof. M. Rajivlochan from Panjab University, was that Punjab has its own Dalit movement and because caste division does not exist in the state. 

“If the party projects itself as a Dalit party, it has no future in the state. People have always been indifferent to the BSP and the party is irrelevant, it has zero role to play in Punjab’s politics,” he said.

Explaining why the BSP has always been a non-starter in Punjab, Ashutosh Kumar, a political science professor at the same university, said Mayawati had never allowed any leaders from within the BSP to emerge in Punjab.

“In Punjab, one cannot sensationalise any one community, as even within the SC community, people are divided not just on the basis of caste, but religion as well,” he said.

Decoding the poor performance of the BSP in Punjab and Uttarakhand, Pai said: “The BSP has never been successful in understanding Dalits outside UP.”

In Uttarakhand, the party is leading in one seat and won one, which Pai attributed to the state having a large number of Brahmins. Therefore, he said, political rule was based on their politics, which earlier the Congress had captured and now is in the BJP’s domain.

(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)

Also read: Brand Modi still going strong: That’s the one big takeaway from 2022 assembly election results


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