Riding on the social engineering formula, the BSP won power in 2007; it wants to repeat the same in 2022 polls.
New Delhi: The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is trying hard to revive its old Dalit-Brahmin alliance which won it power in 2007, in the run-up to the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Sources privy to the poll preparations of the BSP confirmed to The Sunday Guardian that the party wants to target a 35% vote share in the upcoming election and in that these two communities remain the key. “In a three-way battle, any party which gets more than 35% vote can sweep the elections,” a senior party functionary said. “The only way to get there is through forming a Dalit-Brahmin alliance which has been trusted and tested in the past,” he added.
The BSP had launched its campaign for the 2022 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh with a Brahmin conference named “Prabudh Varg Vichar Goshti” in Ayodhya.
The party’s national general secretary and Rajya Sabha member, Satish Chandra Mishra, is leading the charge by holding many “Prabudh Varg Vichar Goshti” meetings to woo the community in favour of the BSP.
Since July, Satish Chandra Mishra has chaired more than 10 such meetings which saw an impressive presence of community members in the gathering of Prayagraj, Sultanpur, Ambedkar Nagar, Kaushambi and Pratapgarh etc. Through these conferences, Mishra, who happens to be the party’s Brahmin face and main troubleshooter for its supremo Mayawati, is promising to give Brahmins respect and dignity which they got during the party’s rule between 2007-2012.
Party supremo Mayawati has alleged that the BJP is targeting Brahmins. On 18 July, Mayawati said, “The Brahmin community supported and tried the BJP for five years. They should now support the BSP for their security, dignity and progress in the coming Assembly elections.”
Ritesh Pandey, BSP’s parliamentary party leader in the Lok Sabha, told The Sunday Guardian: “We are getting very good response in these Prabudh Varg Vichar Goshti meetings; the community is feeling cheated by the present ruling dispensation and wants change. We are the only party whose organization is well prepared for the elections, we are holding meetings across the state and getting support from the people irrespective of caste or religion.”
The upcoming state election seems to be a do-or-die battle for the party since the emergence of a new front, “Azad Samaj Party”, led by Dalit activist turned politician Chandrashekhar Ravan. Many experts believe that these moves may not help the party much and sees its electoral prospects a bit shaky on the ground as there is division even among the Dalit sub-castes and Brahmins are more inclined towards BJP.
“The BSP’s vote share may go down drastically this time because the Jatav, the other Dalit sub-groups may desert the party, while Brahmins are with the BJP,” Rajan Pandey, a Kanpur based political analyst, said. “Chandrashekhar Ravan has emerged as a leader of sub-sections among Dalits in a few districts of western Uttar Pradesh like Bijnor, Saharanpur etc which have massive Dalit population and if he has an alliance with the Samajwadi Party, it will damage the BSP big time,” he added.
After the 2007 Assembly elections, the Bahujan Samaj Party had not tasted any big electoral success. Its vote share was in the range of 18-21% in the last three elections. In the 2019 parliamentary polls, it went for a pre-poll alliance with the Samajwadi Party and due to the large Yadav-Dalit vote combination, the party got 10 seats out of 37 it contested.
The vote share of the alliance was roughly 38%. But, this time, the Bahujan Samaj Party has categorically declined alliance with any party and decided to go it alone in the election.