BSP Rebels Meet Akhilesh: What Does It Indicate for UP Elections?
Considering Yogi government’s stand on CAA and love jihad law, Muslim vote can be completely cut off from the BJP.
The meeting of nine Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) rebels with Samajwadi Party (SP) Chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday, 15 June, gives us many clues as to how things will unfold in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh elections. It’s becoming clearer who will wield more influence and between which parties the main contest will be held.
Yogi Vs Akhilesh
BSP leader Mayawati had already expelled BSP MLAs who met Yadav, which is why saying that the BSP has weakened will be inaccurate. However, if the nine BSP rebels decide to meet Akhilesh Yadav through the back door, to come out and say that all options are open for them, including joining SP, then it indicates that now SP is the main Opposition party in Uttar Pradesh.
Where Does the BSP Stand?
It can be seen that voters are confused, especially Muslims, since many decision by Mayawati gave rise to questions of whether the BSP is following BJP’s Hindutva line.
Rajya Sabha elections: In November 2020, when elections were being held for 10 seats from the Uttar Pradesh quota, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could easily win nine seats by uniting its 305 MLAs and some MLAs of its allies. Instead, the BJP fielded only eight of its candidates and allowed one seat to be won by Ramji Gautam of BSP.
After the Rajya Sabha elections, Mayawati made it clear in a press conference that she is ready to align with the BJP to defeat the SP in the Assembly elections.
Article 370: The BSP finally surprised everyone in August 2019, when it supported the abrogation of Article 370, which ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
At a time when the entire Opposition was dissenting against the house arrest of Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah, and Omar Abdullah, Mayawati argued that Babasaheb was in favour of equality, unity, and integrity of the country. He was not in favour of the provision of Article 370, so the BSP has supported its removal.
Triple Talaq Bill: In July 2019, BSP indirectly helped the BJP by not being present at the time of voting on the Triple Talaq Bill.
A month later, Mayawati removed MP Danish Ali from the post of BSP leader in the Lok Sabha after differences emerged between them over the party's stand on the triple talaq law and Article 370.
Considering Yogi government’s stand on anti-CAA protesters, the polarisation against them, the love jihad law, etc, Muslim vote can be completely cut off from the BJP. Suspecting the BSP to be an ally of the BJP, and seeing the Congress’ weak influence over Muslims, 19 percent population can make or break the political fortunes of any party.
Dalits To Play a Crucial Role
Mayawati is in an unprecedented crisis. The BSP had won only 19 seats and now after expulsion, it stands at seven seats. Moreover, the credibility of the party has come into question. The big question for BSP is whether the Dalit vote bank will shift further, and if it does, where will it shift? Wherever it goes, that party will have the upper hand. Therefore, every party will work to impress Dalits.
Last time BJP won 312 out of 403 seats, which means it got votes from every section. However, every section of the society is angry with the BJP. From COVID mismanagement to ‘my way or the highway’ style politics, people are angry. If the Dalit voter is disillusioned with BSP and BJP, then anything can happen in the upcoming UP elections.
In 2012, BJP got 14 percent of the votes in 85 reserved seats in UP. Adding to their voter percentage, in 2017, BJP got 40 percent votes. SP got 31 percent votes in these seats in 2012, which came down to 19 percent in 2017. The BSP got 27 percent votes in 2012 but in 2017 its condition worsened. It is clear that 21 percent Dalit population of UP will have an important role in deciding the winner.
BJP’s Ray of Hope
Akhilesh has made it clear that he will not tie up with Congress or BSP. Which means that even though the main contest in the state will be between BJP and SP, other small fronts, including BSP, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Chandrashekhar, and Owaisi will be open.
While some are wooing Muslims, some are wooing Dalits. In such a situation, BJP can only hope that anti-incumbency votes do not go to Akhilesh Yadav.
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