Mayawati's BSP Draws Blank, Stands To Lose Relevance In UP

Mayawati had been Chief Minister of UP in 1995, 1997, 2002 and 2007 and was also an MP.

New Delhi:

Mayawati, the four-time Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and a Dalit powerhouse, is unlikely to open account in Uttar Pradesh in this Lok Sabha Election. Her Bahujan Samaj Party, which contested 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh, is not ahead in a single one — a circumstance that could not have been imagined in the heady ’90s.

Back then, the firebrand Dalit leader, who along with mentor Kanshi Ram, had come with the famous “Tilak Tarazu aur Talwar” slogan, was courted by the BJP.

The 68-year-old had been Chief Minister of UP in 1995, 1997, 2002 and 2007 and was also a Member of Parliament.

In 2007, she became the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh again, this time filling state capital Lucknow and other pockets with life size statues of herself and her mentor Kanshi Ram. In 2019, she exerted her presence again, winning 10 seats in alliance with Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party.

But this time, she went solo, spurning advances from the INDIA bloc for an alliance and in the process, triggering louder chants of “BJP’s B Team”. The consequences were far from encouraging. The BSP, once known as a party of Dalits, has suffered a severe blow to its reputation.

Going by the trends, the Dalit vote in Uttar Pradesh appears to have shifted to the INDIA bloc — the Samajwadi Party and the Congress, who are heading to scoop up at least half of the state’s 80 seats. The Dalits comprise more than 20 per cent of the electorate of the state and some of those votes have also gone to Chandra Sekhar Azad.

Part of the reason for BSP’s defeat is also the slow bleeding of key leaders. Ahead of the election a majority of its 10 MPs moved to the BJP and the SP.

Many of them alleged that the party is in grip of lethargy. In his resignation letter to Mayawati, MP Ritesh Pandey who joined the BJP, alleged that it was a long time since he was called to attend party meetings.