New Delhi: After suffering a humiliating loss in the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has started the process to make key changes in the party state unit. Mayawati has asked for division wise report cards on what went wrong for the party in the polls. In the 2022 Assembly elections, the BSP won only one Assembly segment and secured 12.87% vote share. Days after the poll verdict, party president Mayawati held a meeting with the party’s state coordinators and other senior leaders to design a fresh strategy to make the party strong again in an increasingly bipolar Uttar Pradesh politics.
“Our leadership understands the seriousness of the electoral debacle. Rajkumar Gautam, Munkad Ali and Vijay Pratap have been appointed to take feedback on what went wrong with the party, they will talk with the party candidates and senior leaders, and then report to the leadership. Each will cover six divisions of the state, many decisions will be taken after getting reports from the ground,” said Mewalal Gautam, a senior BSP leader. In all likelihood, the party will also revamp the district units and appoint new coordinators for each district.
Party chief Mayawati had also promoted Akash Anand to look after the BSP’s Uttar Pradesh unit after this election debacle. Many believe Mayawati is worried about the shrinking footprints of the party in the state as it lost deposits in 290 Assembly constituencies. “It was shocking for the BSP that it lost deposits in such a huge number of seats. Winning or losing elections happens in politics, but you need to give a fight. With 13% vote, it is the party’s worst performance since the 1993 Assembly polls. What I have been told by those present in the meeting is that the leadership is clear that the party needs to start from zero. The meeting at the state headquarters is the starting of a process to revamp the party and make it more grounded,” said Vikas Gautam, a Dalit activist who had worked with the BSP.
BSP, a national party formed in 1984, was a key player in Uttar Pradesh politics between 1996 and 2017. It also formed government on its own in the state after the 2007 Assembly elections by winning 202 Assembly seats, but since the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the BSP has not got any major electoral success. Its vote share, which was 30.4% in 2007, also decreased with each election and has now come down to 12.87%. After the Bharatiya Janata Party becoming a key player in state politics, the BSP did a pre-poll alliance with its archrival, the Samajwadi Party (SP) in the 2019 parliamentary polls, but was not successful. The party won only 10 seats out of 37 it contested. On the way ahead, Gautam added, “Protest and activism used to be the trademark of the party; it needs to go back to these basics. Akhilesh Yadav had very much eaten into the vote bank of the BSP, the party needs to get it back. Getting feedback from the ground is good, but working overtime on that is also necessary.”