Politics is a game of powerplay but for Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and its supremo Mayawati, the 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections are more about survival. Fearing that a loss here could obliterate the party into nothingness, Mayawati has tugged to the Hindutva cause to script her revival story. Yesterday, BSP started the Brahmin conference in the holy city of Ayodhya, aimed at bringing the Brahmin community into the fold.
Mayawati’s Brahmin outreach program is being led by party general secretary and Brahmin face Satish Chandra Mishra who paid obeisance at the makeshift shrine of Ram Lalla in the temple city before starting the “Sammelan’.
The Ambedkarite party constructed parks, memorials and statues of Dalit and Backward Caste icons when it was in power. The same party is now openly claiming that it will build a grand Ram Mandir if and when it comes to power.
“When we form a full majority government in 2022, I would like to assure you that the lakhs and crores of rupees they have hoarded but are not putting to use to build a temple for Bhagwan Shri Ram, we will compel them to build a grand temple,” said Misra during the convention.
Not only this, the Dalit party is now evoking Bhagwan Ram to take on the BJP. “If BJP thinks that Lord Ram belongs to them then it is their narrow mindset. Lord Ram belongs to everyone. It is sad when people do politics in the name of Lord Ram,” added Mishra.
The Brahmins, estimated to be above 10 per cent of the UP voters hold a decisive say in who forms the government in the state. BJP is heading into the elections with the Brahmin votes in its bag as 46 members of the community were elected in the previous election. However, BSP is hopeful that its soft Hindutva reboot will help it snatch the bag.
BSP scrimmaging for Hindu votes is a development that not many could have predicted a few years ago. However, the slow yet gradual move of the Dalit vote bank to BJP from BSP has forced Mayawati to take such drastic measures.
Once touted as the next big national party that could have solely been the face for Dalits, the party has now lost touch with its core voter base. Dalits comprise about 20 per cent of the population in UP and are a crucial voting bloc in elections. Seventeen of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP are reserved for Scheduled Castes.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Mayawati-led BSP could win only two seats (Nagina and Lalganj), while the BJP swept 15, including the Hathras seat. Meanwhile, in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP won with an even bigger margin, sweeping all the 17 reserved constituencies. Safe to say, the statistics point that BSP fell out with the Dalit voters of UP a long time back.
Mayawati is the old, overworked derby horse that has seemingly reached the end of her career. She has played a big political gamble, which although necessitated by the circumstances was inevitable but it still doesn’t ensure that the Bahujan Samaj party will survive.