The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is all set to lose quite a few of its leaders. Nearly 27 of the 34 Members of the UP Legislative Council (MLCs), whose term is ending in January next year, are preparing to join the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), depending on the availability of tickets.
“The BSP has lost direction and also its vote base. Most of the party workers who won the panchayat elections have already professed their loyalty to the ruling SP. We are no longer keen to contest the elections to the Legislative Council (through local bodies) on a BSP ticket because it is not only ‘expensive’ but also lacks benefits,” said one BSP MLC who is retiring in January.
According to sources, most of the retiring MLCs have already opened their channels of communication with the SP and BJP leaderships. “About a dozen MLCs have been making trips to Delhi to get an assurance of ticket from the BJP. Those who are unable to get a convincing reply from the BJP leadership, are heading towards the SP, which enjoys the advantage of being a ruling party in the state,” said a BSP MLC.
The main reason for party leaders deserting the BSP in a big way is the attitude of the party president, Mayawati.
“We thought that after the rout in the Lok Sabha elections, she would bring some changes in the party but this has not happened. She still does not meet the party workers and expects us to interact with the likes of Naseemuddin Siddiqui who behave in a high-handed manner. Moreover, we are not sure whether the BSP would continue to entertain upper caste leaders or would focus only on Dalit workers in the future,” the MLC said.
Moreover, party leaders are also wary of the BSP’s future after Dalits went with the BJP in a big way in the last Lok Sabha elections. “The BSP’s unique selling point was its hold on its vote bank. Mayawati had the power to transfer her vote to any party but this time, her entire vote bank has got transferred to another party and that too, without her permission,” said a party leader who is preparing to exit the party.
Though Mayawati is aware of her MLCs hobnobbing with the SP and the BJP, she has not made any efforts to check the exodus.
A few months ago, two BSP MLCs, Jayesh Prasad and Ramu Dwiwedi , had helped the SP government by playing a mediator between Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and the family of the journalist who was set ablaze in Shahjahanpur.
The two BSP leaders not only brought the slain journalist’s family to meet the CM but also made no efforts to hide themselves from the media.
Jayesh Prasad later told reporters that he had mediated on the issue because the case was related to his constituency. The BSP chose to ignore the issue.
Earlier BSP MP Jugal Kishore, former MP Ashok Chandel and a host of other leaders joined the BJP and almost all of them told the media that the BSP had strayed from its path and ideology.