In the last few months, BSP has made all possible efforts to woo the Brahmin voters. 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 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, all the electoral gimmicks of Brahmin appeasement and soft Hindutva went for a toss when Mayawati said that ‘Only a Dalit will become her successor’.
A few days ago, Satish Chandra Mishra, the number two leader in the party, was asked about the successor of 65-year-old Mayawati, and he gave a typical politician reply by saying that this is not an urgent matter to be discussed but attacked BJP over not doing anything for Brahmins.
But, when the same question was asked to Mayawati in a press conference, she said that “I am very healthy, and I do not need a successor right now. When needed in the future, she will declare a successor but it will be a Dalit only”.
This must have hurt the aspirations of Satish Chandra Mishra who has very firmly established himself as the number 2 in the party. Moreover, it sends a larger message to the Brahmin community that the position in BSP is hereditary and reserved for Dalits. And, this will not go well with the community that is drifting away from BSP since the 2007 assembly election.
In the last few years, the party is not able to save even its core Dalit votes as a large number of non-Jatav Dalits have started voting for BJP. The slow yet gradual move of the Dalit vote bank to BJP from BSP has forced Mayawati to take such drastic measures like open support for Ram Mandir and the Brahmin community’s appeasement.
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 by banking on Brahmin votes but with her latest statements, she is set to lose both Brahmin and Dalit votes.