Photo credit- PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images
Snapshot
  • Two big resignations in one month should worry Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati as Uttar Pradesh slips into election mode.

    Mayawati will have to give up her reservations about a pre-poll alliance and talk to the Congress party.

    Mayawati’s Dalit votes are not of transferable kind, but the Congress votes are swappable.

It is not yet an exodus, but it may become soon. However, two big resignations in one month should worry Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati as Uttar Pradesh slips into election mode. Swami Prasad Maurya and R K Chaudhary have walked out of BSP accusing Mayawati of selling party tickets. Maurya, who commands enormous clout in OBC votebank, is holding a meeting of his supporters today (1, July) to decide his political path.

Chaudhary resigned yesterday (30, June) and alleged that BSP has deviated from the ideology and capitalists have now come to the forefront. “I have to resign from the party out of complusion… Many more will leave it in times to come,” he said. He will convene a meeting of his supporters on 11 July. Swami Prasad Maurya had also quit the party, saying he felt “suffocated” and accusing the party chief of “auctioning” tickets for next year’s Assembly polls.

Maurya resigned from BSP on 22 June and had accused Mayawati of “murdering” the principles of B R Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram. With such accusations and walkouts, Mayawati may find it difficult to attract other voters apart from her Dalit supporters. Chaudhary comes from Pasi community, and they are primary voters for BSP along with Mayawati’s Jatavs. Mayawati has recently revived her ‘social engineering’ strategy to include upper caste voters in her fold. This may not be enough and to stay in contention in the fragmented Indian politics she needs to break her party’s tradition.

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Since 1993 (when it had a tie-up with Samajwadi Party), BSP has kept away from pre-poll alliances as it prefers to contest all most all seats to up its winning numbers and then bargain. But 2017 is going to be different. Samajwadi Party is feeling energetic and believes it can return to power. On the other hand, BJP will try its brand extension strategy in UP and encash Modi brand of development to capture power.

In this bout of heavyweights,  BSP and the Congress will have come to an understanding before the elections. In plain terms, Mayawati will have to give up her reservations about a pre-poll alliance and talk to the Congress party. A three-cornered contest offers a better chance to Mayawati, and the Congress can avoid a difficult choice of selecting its candidate to lead the party in UP.

Mayawati’s Dalit votes are not of transferable kind, but the Congress votes are swappable. Mayawati knows this and keeping this situation in mind she did extend support to the Congress candidate in Rajya Sabha polls in Uttarakhand recently.

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For pre-poll alliance between the Congress and BSP, Mayawati needs to lower her arrogance and Sonia Gandhi her grand dreams of Congress revival. The Congress cannot fight UP polls on its own and get crushed. Sonia and Rahul would be safe with BSP’s elephant.

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