[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]L[/dropcap]ast month, the writer had observed (Will the BJP wrest UP?) that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would wrest Uttar Pradesh from the clutches of parties that have furthered divisive politics and negated all development and aspirations of the youth. By this reckoning, there are few chances of the Bahujan Samaj Party returning to power in the State.
Recall the Church attacks prior to the Delhi elections and the intolerance brigade (Award Wapsi) before the Bihar Assembly elections.
Shocked by the 2014 Lok Sabha results and desertion by her core Dalit vote bank, Mayawati was until recently, on the back foot. Beset with an exodus, she was unlikely to make a recovery by the time of the 2017 Assembly polls.
Mayawati received a second lease when the BJP UP unit’s vice president Dayashankar Singh made some loose comments about her; he was later removed from his post as well as the party. But though the BJP acted swiftly against its own leader, the BSP supremo realised that political capital could be extracted from the incident and began a district-wise movement to galvanise Scheduled Caste voters in her favour.
Mayawati has been given a fresh lease of life by sections of the ruling establishment. A spate of anti-Dalit activities in various parts of the country in the name of cow protection have negated goodwill towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah and put a question mark on the fate of the party in forthcoming elections in several States.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he BJP leadership would do well to look into the incidence of strategically timed episodes with the potential to harm the party just prior to an important election. Recall the Church attacks prior to the Delhi elections and the intolerance brigade (Award Wapsi) before the Bihar Assembly elections. That the RSS chipped in with entirely avoidable views on reservations hardly helped.
On her part, the BSP president is leaving no stone unturned to forge a grand Dalit-Muslim alliance to secure Lucknow. There is talk that she may field at least 100-130 Muslim candidates.
Mayawati’s attempt to carve out a BSP vote-bank from the Dalit-Muslim combine is yet to click as both the Prime Minister and Amit Shah have been working hard for the Dalit constituency. The duo has managed to thwart any attempts to derail the government’s development agenda. Attempts to create social unrest and detach the Scheduled Caste voter from the BJP under the garb of cow protection was blindsided by the Prime Minister himself.
Meanwhile, the BJP has been getting its calculations right and has garnered support from many quarters to weaken Mayawati. BSP leader Swami Prasad Maurya who had quit the BSP and threatened to take Mayawati head on, has joined the BJP. With him has come the MLA from Shivpur, some former MLAs and former MLCs; more BSP members from the Kushwaha-Maurya caste groups are slated to join the BJP.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]P[/dropcap]reviously, the BJP had induced a sitting BSP Rajya Sabha MP, S.P. Baghel, who belongs to the Gaderia caste, to resign his seat and join the party. He was appointed president of the BJP’s OBC Morcha. It also inducted BSP leader Jugal Kishore and former MP Dara Singh Chauhan. In recent days, the BSP has received several jolts with a handful of its backward caste leaders joining the BJP.
Continuing its march into the State, the BJP has announced a tie-up with the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party which has a strong following among the Rajbhar (MBC) as well as a section of the Scheduled Castes.
The BJP is also reaching out to all non-Yadav backward castes. Amit Shah would likely be working on an alliance with the Valmikis. No true picture can emerge at present, but Mayawati would know that the BJP’s political calculations could well ambush her hopes of a Dalit-Muslim combination catapulting her to power.
The author is a freelancer. He tweets at @therijuluppal
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