By Shashank Suresh
Mayawati, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader, claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seized power at the centre and in the state as a result of the Congress party’s bad policies and actions. She further said that the BJP administration followed the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) limited agenda rather than completing its constitutional obligations.
Poverty has increased, prices of essential commodities have fallen, unemployment has risen, social tensions have risen and crime has risen as a result of the erroneous policies and acts of the BJP administration. The people were oppressed and wanted to be free from the mistake of the BJP, she continued. Floods have flooded large portions in many districts. The state government should offer assistance to the citizens by starting relief and rescue efforts.
In a meeting with top officials and office bearers at the party-state unit headquarters, Mayawati inspected the workings of the party organisation in ten divisions across the state. She instructed the party leaders to form committees up to the booth level on a war posture. The BSP leader blasted the national government for raising the price of cooking gas. She called it anti-poor, claiming that the rise in the price of petroleum goods has contributed to the burden on ordinary people.
However, political analysts claim that this belligerence is no longer visible. Mayawati, who was formerly known for taking on opponents head-on, has suddenly become a hermit. The BSP failed to gain a single seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The BSP won 10 seats in the Lok Sabha in 2019 thanks to an alliance with the Samajwadi Party, formerly considered its arch-rival. Mayawati, however, pulled off the coalition a month after the results were announced.
Since then, she has taken several political stances that appear to favour the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. In Uttar Pradesh, the issue is whether Mayawati would openly or surreptitiously back the BJP in the upcoming election.
Triple Talaq bill: By refraining from voting on the Triple Talaq bill in Parliament in July 2019, the BSP had implicitly endorsed the BJP. Mayawati deposed Danish Ali as the BSP’s Lok Sabha leader a month later. It was widely assumed that this was due to his disagreements with the party’s position on Triple Talaq and the repeal of Article 370.
Article 370: Mayawati surprised everyone in August 2019 when she announced her support for repealing Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which gives Jammu and Kashmir special status. In a series of tweets, she claimed that even Bhimrao Ambedkar opposed Article 370 because he believed in India’s unity and integrity. Unlike other Opposition leaders, Mayawati did not speak out against Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah, and Omar Abdullah’s house detention in Jammu and Kashmir.
Farm Bills: Protests against the Modi government’s three agricultural laws have swept western Uttar Pradesh since January 28, with representatives from numerous Opposition parties flocking to the Ghazipur protest location to show their solidarity with the demonstrators.
Leaders of the BSP, on the other hand, have stayed absent thus far. Mayawati’s participation in what is likely the greatest farmer protest movement in three decades has been restricted to 13 cursory tweets criticising the government’s actions against farmers.
According to political analysts, Rajya Sabha elections: Another example of Mayawati’s unspoken agreement with the BJP. Elections for ten Rajya Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh were held in November 2020. With its 305 MLAs and a few others from its ally Apna Dal, the BJP easily won 9 seats. However, it only fielded eight candidates, allowing Ram Ji Gautam of the BSP to gain one seat.
Mayawati stated at a news conference after the Rajya Sabha elections in November 2020 that her party was prepared to work with the BJP to defeat the Samajwadi Party’s candidates in the state legislative council elections. “Iske baad bhi kuch baaki hai?”
Mayawati is widely believed to have softened her stance on the BJP to gain a respite in cases examined by federal agencies such as the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. Mayawati’s Achilles’ heel, according to veteran journalist Sharat Pradhan, is the disproportionate asset and Taj corridor case against her. “Her main concern is that a top leader of Chidambaram, formerly Minister of Home and Finance, would also face a similar destiny if he could be imprisoned and detained for over a hundred days without bail.
Mayawati’s alleged closeness to the BJP has generated suspicion that the BSP may form a pre-election coalition with the ruling party. In the past, the BSP and the BJP started unions in 1995, 1997, and 2002. However, political experts believe that a pre-poll agreement between the two parties in the 2022 assembly election is improbable.
Mayawati risks losing all of her Muslim voters if the two parties ally, according to Pradhan. “The BJP would profit more if they battle alone and remove Muslim backing from the opposition.” “The BJP is unlikely to be a pre-election partnership because Mayawati will tolerate nothing less as Chief Minister. Yogi Adityanath, the powerful face of BJP’s Hindutva, is most appropriate for the electoral strategy of the party.”
Mayawati’s skill at social engineering helped push her to power in the 2007 assembly elections: the BSP nominated higher caste candidates in 139 constituencies, forming a coalition of Dalits and Brahmins. Brahmins, on the other hand, have abandoned her cause. The larger issue, though, is that her popularity among Dalits is eroding. In recent years, the BJP has successfully persuaded non-Jatav Dalit voters that the BSP only benefits Jatavs, Mayawati’s community, when it comes to power.
Since the previous election, BJP officials claim to have strengthened their support among Dalits. According to political experts, Mayawati has shut herself off from the rest of the world, isolating herself in her Delhi home and making herself unreachable even to party officials. Former BBC journalist Ram Dutt Tripathi pointed out that she has not organised any significant protests in the state.
Chandrashekhar Azaad Ravan, 34, rising as a new generation Dalit leader in western Uttar Pradesh, is stepping into this void. He’s a street warrior who’s been there at every big demonstration in the last several years, whether it’s against the Citizenship Law or the rape of a young Dalit lady in Hathras. Azad is gearing up for the next legislative elections. Analysts believe that his newly established Azad Samaj Party’s political effect would be limited, considering that his party received only 6.69 per cent of the vote in the Bulandshahar bye-elections in November 2020. “It’s impossible to predict what the future holds for him, but he doesn’t have the political clout to take on Mayawati right now,” journalist Brijesh Shukla said.
Alliance with Owaisi?
Aside from Dalits, the BSP has courted Muslim voters, who account for almost a fifth of the state’s population. During the 2017 assembly elections, the party fielded Muslim candidates in over 100 constituencies. However, according to analysts, many Muslims appear to have been alienated by Mayawati’s perceived closeness to the BJP.
“Muslims have lost faith in Mayawati as a result of her recent activities,” Shamil Shamsi, the national head of Hussaini Tigers, a Shia Muslim youth organisation, stated. They will vote for the BSP only in seats where the SP and Congress cannot compete with the BJP. According to a senior BSP leader who did not want to be identified, Muslims are unhappy with the BSP. “”But also, the Samajwadi Party is angry since the Samaywadi Party never stands in their hands on anything, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s time.”
“This is why Mayawati will be interested in forming an alliance with Asaduddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen,” the politician continued, referring to Asaduddin Owaisi of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen”.