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This is why Mayawati wants to fight solo, says no more poll alliances

Congress and Samajawadi Party, though, believe it doesn’t matter what Mayawati's BSP decides because party 'isn’t in the race for 2022 UP assembly election'.

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Lucknow: BSP chief Mayawati announced earlier this week that her party would no longer enter into an alliance with any political party, not just in Uttar Pradesh, but also in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, which will go to polls in the next few weeks. 

The former UP chief minister told reporters Monday that the party never benefited from contesting elections as part of an alliance and that BSP’s votes get easily transferred to other parties, but votes of other parties don’t come to their kitty.

During the last five years, the party has had several experiments with alliance politics by joining hands with other parties, be it with the SP and Congress in Uttar Pradesh or parties in other states. However, none of the alliances yielded any major benefits for the BSP. Instead, to some extent, it has adversely affected its core vote-bank — Dalits. 

“In all the states, including UP, Bihar and Karnataka, the party has experienced all sorts of alliances and none of them yielded any special benefits to us. That is why behenji (Mayawati) has announced that from now onwards, we will have no alliances,” BSP national spokesperson Sudhindra Bhadoria told ThePrint.

The opposition Congress and SP have, however, said it doesn’t matter what the BSP decides as the party isn’t in the race for the 2022 UP assembly elections.

Experts, however, hailed Mayawati’s decision, saying BSP’s core voters “would never be socially accepted by the core voters of other parties”. They also said that while Mayawati won’t be able to reap major benefits from this strategy, she still would not have to suffer any major losses either.

The party, meanwhile, is gearing up for the 2022 UP elections, and has been holding meetings, while also devising social media campaigns.

“Currently, our focus is exclusively on (2022) UP elections. Our party is fully ready. Committees have also been formed at the booth and zonal levels, and meetings have also started. The entire focus is to unite our cadre and contest all elections on our own,” Bhadoria said.


Also read: ‘Inactive’ Mayawati sets up scramble for UP Dalit vote, Athawale demands 10 seats from BJP


BSP’s history of political alliances 

In UP, the BSP has had a long history of political alliances — both pre-poll and post-poll. 

In 1993, in view of the BJP’s rapidly increasing strength in UP, then SP chief Mulayam Singh and BSP founder Kanshiram had joined hands, which caused the BJP to lose the assembly elections and Mulayam became the CM. 

But in the wake of the infamous 1995 Lucknow guest house scandal, Mayawati withdrew support, leading to the fall of the SP government. 

Later that year, Mayawati was sworn in as the chief minister for the first time with support from the BJP, Congress and Janata Party. In 1996, she contested the assembly elections in alliance with the Congress, but neither party could secure a majority, leading to the imposition of President’s Rule in the state. 

A year later, in 1997, Mayawati once again formed the government in alliance with the BJP and became the CM for the second time.

After another inconclusive election in 2002, Mayawati once again struck an alliance with the BJP to form a BSP government in UP, but this time her government fell in 2003. 

For the next 15 years, the BSP kept itself away from alliance politics, and returned to it only during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections by joining hands with the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party. 

In this election, while the BSP secured 10 seats, SP won only 5 seats. Soon after, Mayawati announced an end of the alliance. 

Besides UP, the BSP also contested the 2020 Bihar election in alliance with Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP, while in Karnataka, it joined hands with the JD(S) during the 2018 assembly elections.

‘It hardly matters what Mayawati does’

SP spokesperson Abhishek Mishra told ThePrint people now don’t bother about what other parties are doing as the “2022 is an election between BJP and Samajwadi party”.

“It’s her (Mayawati) choice of not going into alliance. In 2019 (alliance), our votes got transferred to the BSP, that’s why they got 10 seats, but their votes didn’t transfer to SP.”

UP Congress Spokesperson Anshu Awasthi said the “BSP is now not in the race for 2022”.

“It hardly matters what they do. Her (Mayawati) statements from the last few months show she is helping the BJP continuously. So people are now not bothered much about Mayawati’s announcement,” he told ThePrint.

Political expert Kalicharan Snehi, a professor in Lucknow University and a keen observer of Dalit Politics, said Mayawati’s decision is in keeping with the interests of her core voters in mind. 

“In UP’s rural heartlands, reports of sporadic clashes between either the Yadavs and Dalits or between the Thakurs (Rajputs) and the Dalits keep pouring in time and again. In such a situation, BSP’s alliances with either the SP or the BJP can never be quite successful, because the core voters of BSP would never be socially accepted by the core voters of other parties, then what is the purpose of such an alliance?” he said.

“Under these circumstances, if BSP has to survive politically, then it needs to keep its core vote intact at any cost. By taking a principled decision to not strike alliances with anyone else, surely she (Mayawati) will be able to devote more time to her core voters and also to the organisation, which will be beneficial for both her as well as her party,” he added.

Another political commentator, Kaviraj, also a Lucknow University professor, echoed similar sentiments, saying Mayawati’s announcement is to consolidate her core vote-bank. 

“It is true that she would not be able to reap major benefits out of this strategy, but still she will not have to suffer any major losses either,” he added.


Also read: UP panchayat polls a litmus test for BSP, experts say Mayawati must come out of isolation first


BSP’s 2022 campaign plan 

According to BSP sources, the party at present is entirely focused to reinstate itself as a major player in UP politics before the 2022 elections. 

A detailed plan has also been drafted for this purpose. After getting herself vaccinated, Mayawati has been conducting meetings with party leaders in Lucknow. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she stayed in Delhi for most of the time, but now she will stay in the UP capital to oversee the election preparations, said party leaders.

“The party has already made preparations to field candidates for the district panchayat elections (expected in April last week). This apart, slogans like ‘Behenji fir se (Once again Mayawati)’, and ‘One leader, one party, one mission’ have also been coined and they will be launched through posters,” said a senior BSP leader.

“In addition, several hashtags like ‘BSP rokegi atyachar (BSP will stop all kinds of atrocities)’, targeting the dismal condition of law and order in the state, have also been prepared,” he added.  

A BSP functionary admitted that even “though we are definitely weaker in terms of social media activities, still we are actively engaged in strengthening our presence through all pro-Dalit YouTube channels and other social media accounts”. 

The party has also begun block-level conferences, and BSP state unit president Bhim Rajbhar has been tasked with the responsibility of organising these conferences. 

Before the big battle of 2022, the party is also focusing on the upcoming panchayat elections. This is why BSP leaders are currently holding small public meetings in rural areas.

“Small meetings generate greater connectivity (with the masses) and in addition to this, nobody can make allegations about violation of Covid guidelines. Although images of these meetings might not be visible too much on the media and social media, still these meetings have started to take place in each and every district,” said the functionary.

Preparations for district-wise Brahmin conferences 

BSP sources said the party will contest the 2022 elections by relying on the successful formula of 2007, with special focus on Dalits, Muslims as well as Brahmin voters. 

The party has also decided to give a large number of tickets to Brahmin candidates, said sources.

Preparations are also going on in full swing to organise Brahmin conferences in all districts. 

Sources said that last year, these conferences could not be held due to the pandemic, but this time, preparations are being made to organise these conferences in every district of central and eastern UP. 

BSP senior leaders like Satish Chandra Mishra, Nakul Dubey have been entrusted with the responsibility to hold Brahmin conferences. BSP’s Ambedkar Nagar MP Ritesh Pandey will also play an important role in it, sources added.

(Edited by Debalina Dey)


Also read: The Mayawati era is over. Bye Bye Behenji


 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. fight is between SP and BJP in 2022 for BSP there is scope of improvement if they focus more on non yadav obc votes rather going for brahman or muslims if bsp taps non yadav obc votes it will directly hurt the bjp and increases the SP chance to come back in power.

  2. SP is finished, they are delusional to think otherwise. Even Congress will win more seats than SP if they fight separately. Only Yadavs and a handful of Muslims will vote for them.

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