UP Elections: Do not rule out BSP in Purvanchal

As the election juggernaut rolls down to Purvanchal (eastern Uttar Pradesh) where caste plays a dominant role, no one can write off Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)

Mayawati
Mayawati
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NH Correspondent/Lucknow

As the election juggernaut rolls down to Purvanchal (eastern Uttar Pradesh), where caste plays a dominant role, no one can write off Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Many political pundits feel that if the BSP is not in a dominating position even in this election, its presence may change equations in many constituencies.

For the party, 2007 was the peak time when BSP had won 206 seats out of 403 and Mayawati formed government of her own. This was the time when the BSP had softened its approach towards other castes, especially upper caste. She dropped staunch opposition of Brahmins and stitched a new caste alliance of Sarv Samaj. In that endeavour of social engineering, Purvanchal played an important role.

However, Mayawati failed to keep the social engineering formula intact and the party lost elections in 2012 and 2017. The politics of eastern UP revolves around Ram Temple and both the BJP and the SP had gained – one by proposing construction of Ram Temple and the other by opposing it. The BSP also opposed the demolition of Babri Masjid but not as strongly as its rival the Samajwadi Party had done.

In last assembly election in 2017, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by BJP had won 41 seats out of 61 of this region comprising 10 district of three divisions of Varanasi, Vindhyachal and Azamgarh. Out of these, BJP won 34, while its alliance seven whereas the SP slipped to 12 while BSP just seven. In 2012, the SP had won 39 seats whereas BSP eight and BJP just five.


In 2007, BSP had won 36 seats while the SP won only 17 seats.

“The BSP still holds sway in select pockets. And in this election it has fielded strong candidates too. The hype is about a bi-polar contest between the BJP and the SP alliance. But presence of the BSP would make this contest triangular,” said Manoj Bhadra, a political analyst.

A retired IPS officer, PK Mishra felt that the BSP suffered of late because its leader Mayawati has not been active. She has now started holding meetings. A few meetings in Purvanchal could galavanise the voters and the equation might change in no time.

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