Uttar Pradesh: With senior leaders gone, BSP fishing in troubled waters
Have these leaders realised that BSP is a sinking ship and are looking for some greener pastures or the power struggle within the party has forced Mayawati to expel them?
Two former BSP leaders Ram Achal Rajbhar and Lalji Verma met Akhilesh Yadav yesterday with a clear indication that both of them will join the Samajwadi Party soon. These two leaders, were technically expelled by the BSP leadership. It raises a big question as to why leaders are deserting Mayawati.
Both the former BSP leaders are natives of the Amebdkarnagar district, in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Ramachal Rajbhar is MLA from the Akbarpur seat and Lalji Verma is MLA from the Katehari seat. Both the leaders were senior in the BSP hierarchy and were considered close to Mayawati. Verma was the Leader of the BSP Legislature Party in Vidhan Sabha while Rajbhar was once the state president of the party.
Both of them were expelled by Mayawati in June this year. The BSP leaders did not specify as to why both of them were shown the door but the official press release claimed that both of them were expelled for anti-party activities.
The expulsion was systematic. It started with Babu Singh Kushwaha of NRHM fame to Swamy Prasad Maurya who joined BJP and is a member of the Yogi Government. Another close confidante of Mayawati, Nassimuddin Siddiqui, who was once the Muslim face of BSP left the party to join the Congress while a Brahmin leader in BSP Brijesh Pathak left the party and joined the BJP. He is law minister in the present political dispensation in Uttar Pradesh.
In November last year, five BSP MLAs met Akhilesh Yadav during the Rajya Sabha elections earning the wrath of Mayawati. Later, she expelled nine MLAs including the five who had met Akhilesh Yadav. Recently, another senior BSP leader Sukhdev Rajbhar, who was Speaker of the Uttar Pradesh State Assembly, when Mayawati was Chief Minister, quit politics but his son joined the Samajwadi Party, showing the increasing disquiet in the party.
The last BSP came to power was in 2007 when it won 206 seats in the 403 member Uttar Pradesh State Assembly. At that time, the BSP had got almost 30 per cent of the votes. Many political pundits feel that the combination of Dalit, Muslim and upper caste votes led to the rise of the BSP in 2007. But after the expulsion of senior leaders, the decline started.
In 2012, when Akhilesh Yadav formed the government, the BSP was reduced to the main opposition party with 25 per cent votes share and winning 80 seats while in the 2017 elections it was decimated further and it got just 19 seats. However, the effective strength of BSP in the State Assembly is just `Five’.
The question remains as to why Mayawati has expelled these leaders? Have these leaders realised that the BSP is a sinking ship and are looking for some greener pastures or the party's internal power struggle has forced her to take this drastic decision?
The insiders in the party say, Satish Chandra Mishra is the bone of contention. “He has deviated the party from the principle of `Sarv Gun sukhaye’ and has pushed the party to a Brahmin party. Mishra is calling the shots because Mayawati is unapproachable,” said a BSP leader on condition of annonymity.
“Politics is a game where matured and seasoned leaders take the party to a new high. We have lost all the stalwarts. Thanks to Mishra ji, the BSP has lost its sheen,” the leader said.