Purshottam, a 32-year-old from Kanpur, while sipping his tea and reading the morning newspaper, is uncomfortable with the fact that Ansari has now joined the BSP. Purshottam runs a small hosiery shop. Mayawati's tough stance against crime had made behenji very popular in the state. But Qaumi Ekta Dal joining hands with the BSP has made Purshottam very upset.
“If this happens, who do we vote for? Even Mayawati has joined hands with the goons,” he says.
Mayawati had come to power with the support of the Dalit community and middle class voters. Such was her image that all the robbers, kidnappers and criminals lay low under her government. Corrupt officials were scared simply at the mention of the CM’s name. The front pages of the newspapers were filled with news about Mayawati’s surprise visits to government offices.
However, her alliance with Ansari has changed her image for the worse in the state, leaving Akhilesh Yadav as the new ray of hope. Even in his speeches, Akhilesh is talking about development that transcends casteism and communalism.
Is Mayawati Being Soft With Criminals?
In its campaign rallies, the BSP has promised protection to women as well as the entire state. However, by allowing Mukhtar Ansari – who was previously imprisoned in Agra jail – and his family members into the party, Mayawati has damaged her clean image.
The Ansari family joined the BSP after being shunned from the Samajwadi Party. Akhilesh Yadav had blocked their entry because of Ansari’s criminal background.
Have Goons Conquered the 'Elephant'?
As soon as Ansari joined the BSP, the BJP started attacking the party. "Gunda chaddh gaya haathi par, goli lagegi chaati par (The goon has climbed over the elephant, next the bullet will hit the chest.),” went their campaign slogan.
During the 2007 elections, Mayawati had rode to power with the slogan, "Chadh gundon kee chhaatee par, muhar lagao haathee par. (Climb over the goons’ chest, give your vote to the elephant.)”
This time also, Mayawati is talking about controlling crime in the state. Mukhtar Ansari, though, is accused of political assassination, extortion and acquiring 'Gunda Tax'.
Is Mayawati's Confidence in Good governance and Development Shaken?
If you observe Mayawati's election strategy, you will see her trying to woo the Muslim vote bank.
After joining the BSP, the Ansari family said they were told by Mulayam Singh that Akhilesh is not fond of Muslims. They said the prospect of being part of the Samajwadi Party was a humiliating one.
Mayawati, defending the move, said that all allegations against Ansari are false and without concrete evidence. Though she may present the decision as usual election strategy, it is clear that the BSP supremo has embraced the use of gimmicks.
This article was originally published on Quint Hindi.