Is this the end of Mayawati and Dalit politics in UP?
One of the most significant takeaways from the trends and results of the UP-assembly polls is that the BSP supremo Mayawati has been mitigated to the level of being politically irrelevant
Is this the end of Mayawati and Dalit politics in India’s most important state Uttar Pradesh? The prognosis was declared much before the actual results were announced.
One of the most significant takeaways from the trends and results of the UP-assembly polls is that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati has been mitigated to the level of being politically irrelevant and traditional Dalit politics is on the verge of extinction.
The question needs a retrospective analysis into the history and politics of Mayawati from being a civil-service-aspirant to the Chief Minister of UP and the BSP’s rise to power from being a party of Bahujan to becoming a party of Sarvjan.
However, to put it briefly, it can be said that the massive Hinduization of Dalits – which the RSS has been working on for decades – is responsible for the beginning of the end of the BSP and Mayawati.
Analysts believe that the social base, mainly comprising of Jatavs that stood behind Mayawati, has shifted towards the Right in Uttar Pradesh. Consequently, the first Dalit woman Chief Minister of the country, 66 years old Mayawati hit the lowest point of her career in this election.
As of evening, the BSP was leading in just one seat and its vote share plummeted to 12.84 per cent in 2022 from 22.33 per cent in 2017.
Pertinently, in 2012 Mayawati retained 26 per cent vote share and even got 22.33 per cent votes in 2017 with 19 seats when the BJP swept the polls.
Nine years after it was founded by Kanshi Ram, the BSP got 11.12 per cent of the votes in the 1993 elections. It was the lowest till now, however this time BSP broke its own record.
Apart from massive Hinduization of Dalits, lack of organisational strength, highly centralised party structure, elusive and unapproachable leadership is responsible for the rout of the BSP.
No wonder, people felt much before the results were announced that BSP worked as the B team of BJP, which Mayawati and BSP constantly tried to ward off.
It should be noted here that with almost no other star faces in the BSP, Mayawati held merely 18 rallies. Her rout in this election is rightly attributed to the lack of the organisation and second rank leadership.
Surprisingly, just before the counting day, Mayawati announced her brother Anand Kumar as vice-president of the party and nephew Akash Anand as national coordinator.
The command and the campaign were largely left to party general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra, the only old-timer who still remains in the BSP. This, as per poll watchers, has sent out a wrong signal. A perception was created that the BSP had been captured by the Mishras.
Some of the very old loyalists have deserted the party and gone on to join the SP or the BJP before the polls.
Those who keep an eye on Dalit politics, say that Mayawati failed to cater to the aspirational class emerging from Dalit communities.
“The Bhim Army phenomenon should have alarmed Mayawati, but she remained unaffected. The rise of Chandrasekhar Ravan in the realm of Dalit politics symbolizes that Dalit youth need an alternative which Mayawati failed to provide. In the absence of an alternative, they may have shifted towards the BJP,” said a UP watcher.
Answer to the BJP coming to power despite palpable resentment against the government on the ground, and downfall of the BSP to the level of being politically irrelevant lies in the above mentioned statement.
How Mayawati responds to this crisis will be a point worth noting in the coming time.