The Bahujan Samaj Party is preparing to repeat its mistakes. The party supremo Mayawati has once again decided to bank on the votes of Muslim community. The party leader has given an appeasement call to the minority. The notion behind this is the lack of Muslim votes that BJP might receive. The party leader has also shocked and baffled many by her announcements. Mayawati has assured that there will be no split in the Congress and BSP votes from the Muslim Minorities. The party has fielded 97 Muslim candidates that is a staggering 36% of the total members contesting on BSP’s ticket.
This move is in line with the party’s experiment of bringing the Minorities and Dalits together in UP. It is a very well known strategy by the party, as in UP assembly elections of 2012 and 2017, BSP played the same minority card by fielding almost 80 faces from the minority group. Mayavati at Deoband rally said “I want to make an open appeal. It’s not the Congress but the alliance which is fighting the BJP. Congress wants to ensure the alliance does not win. Congress is trying to help the BJP in this election,” This has brought her under the EC scanner.
The BSP like the previous elections have also made sure that the agenda of the party still sticks to wooing the minorities. Elections are contested on two broad basis. First, the ability of a party to mobilize the support base and second, it depends on the split of the adversarial votes. The Congress party in order to win this election has brought in important faces in the state of UP. The Congress party has brought Imran Masood in Saharanpur while they have pitched Imran Pratagarh in Moradabad.
The Dalit-Minority factor that BSP wants to use once more has a set of stats. The UP state has a strong hold of this “D-M” factor. 50 % of the population in some seats belong to these social groups. If the rest of the constituencies are to be considered, it adds up to 40%.
Year 2007 saw the victory of BSP and Mayawati as the Chief Minister, the party leader had pitched 58 faces. The party but could only secure a 50 % success rate. The number of seats won was only 28 against the 58. In the 2014 elections of Lok Sabha, there were chances that the Mayawati led party could get the Muslim votes, but to her surprise, the votes went to Congress.
The Assembly results in 2012 further lowered the strike rate to 18% against 50% in 2007 and made Akhilesh Yadav the Chief Minister of UP. The further downfall of BSP in its attempt to gather the minority votes was reflected in 2017 as well. The assembly election that followed in UP with BJP sweeping the votes was another setback to Mayawati. The BSP had contested from about 403 seats and secured only 19 seats out of them. The success rate of 2017 elections, stood at a new low of 8% for BSP.
The BSP Supremo is not ready to understand the momentum of politics in recent times. The elephant is set to blow its old trumpets but perhaps won’t do the happy feet dance. They not only will be failing again but wouldn’t do worse than their past experiences. The continuous failure of the appeasement calls has still not hit the BSP leaders, and the moot question is – where is the Gathbandhan heading to?