“Every man must have a philosophy of life, for everyone must have a standard by which to measure his conduct. And philosophy is nothing but a standard by which to measure”.
-Dr. B.R. AMBEDKAR-
The 2022 Uttar Pradesh (UP) State Assembly elections are getting closer. The BJP central leadership has already started deliberations. By hook or by crook, the BJP wants to win UP elections with a thumping majority. It is a fact that the BJP has one advantage that it has its own government in UP under firebrand Yogi Adityanath. Not only the BJP has full control over the state machinery but also various criminal groups working in the state are currently under the thump of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Samajwadi Part (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) lack this advantage. Still, SP and BSP are the two main political parties that can spoil the chances of the BJP in the forthcoming election in the state. Possibly, this time SP leaders might keep away BSP Supremo Mayawati because Mayawati has lost respect among the Dalits in the state. She also betrayed the SP leaders by secretly shaking hands with the BJP. Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s younger daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav while speaking to a TV channel said: “Mayawati was unable to digest the respect that she got from Samajwadi Party. According to the Vedas, it is said that those who cannot digest respect are the ones who cannot digest disrespect either.”(The Times of India, 28Jun, 2019). Under the current political environment in the state, Mayawati and SP are politically incompatible.
Possibly, Akhilesh Yadav and his family might strike a secret deal with Chandershaker of Azad Samaj Party to give sleepless nights to Mayawati. Mayawati is afraid of Chandershaker’s political activism. The political tussle between Mayawati and Chandershaker will further split the Dalit votes and BJP and SP will draw additional advantages. Mayawati alleged that Azad Samaj Party chief collects money from poor Dalits for his release from jail. The leaders and workers of Azad Samaj Party argue that Mayawati never alleges or raises questions on her own people who are deceiving Dalits since the days of Kanshi Ram.
There are many questions but I shall like to stick to two main questions: Will Mayawati strike a secret alliance with the BJP? Will the Dalits vote for Mayawati?
Let us deal with the first question, under the prevailing political environment in Uttar Pradesh, the political position of Mayawati is quite weak. Her party is completely disintegrated; the powerful grassroots level BSP leaders have already left the BSP. They have either joined the BJP or the SP after leveling serious allegations of corruption against Mayawati. Bahujan Samaj Party, former Minister Daddu Prasad has accused party president Mayawati of selling tickets for elections. He is not the first (former) BSP leader to have leveled such allegations against Ms. Mayawati. Similar charges were made by former MP, Akhilesh Das and Rajya Sabha MP, Jugal Kishore( The Hindu, 2017). No doubt, the corruption allegations by former BSP ministers and leaders have severally damaged the image of Mayawati across India. Because of this, no party except the BJP wants to shake hands with Mayawati.
Since 2017, Mayawati is politically inactive except for reading political statements from the four walls of her huge bungalow. Not only this, but also Mayawati had issued directions to the BSP leaders and workers not to organize political rallies under the banner of BSP. Since 2107, atrocities against the Dalits increased manifold in the state but Mayawati remained silent. On the other hand, Yogi Adituanath did not launch an inquiry against Mayawati despite her daily attacks on the UP government in the media.
Mayawati has been given a free hand to criticize the Modi government during the pandemic. The central leadership of BJP did not send CBI, ED to her house to investigate pending corruption cases against Mayawati. On the other hand, Mayawati has been criticizing Rahul & Priyanka Gandhi for being present in Dalit houses and having food with them. All this shows that Mayawati shall strike a secret alliance with the BJP behind the curtain to stop SP from winning a full majority in the state.
The second question is: Will the Dalits vote for Mayawati? The answer is NO. I had spoken telephonically to 50 BSP former leaders and active workers and sought their response. On the condition of anonymity, one former BSP worker told me, “the BSP leaders in the state are greedy, corrupt, and highly ambitious.” Another respondent told, “Mayawati only appoints those who are capable to exploit the poor Dalits.” A female BSP worker told, “Kanshi Ram struck a secret deal with the BJP on 3Jun 1995 and made Mayawati Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for the first time. Since then, Mayawati has been selling Dalits to the bigger national political parties.” A BSP worker who spent 20 years in the party told, “the BSP is a party of swindlers.” He also said, under Mayawati, the Dalits have entered into a new kind of slavery – mental ghettoization. He further said, “Mayawati is old and nervous. She is not in a position to win elections with a full majority; she can just play the role of a saboteur”, he said. Another respondent told, Mayawati and her clan are the most corrupt people. It is an open secret that the fortunes of his brother Anand Kumar rose from nearly Rs7.5 crore to Rs. 1,316 crore, he told. Another respondent told, “Mayawati is a capitalist. She is a puppet in the hands of Manuwadi Brahmins”.
This time the Dalits votes in the state will split heavily between Azad Samaj Party of Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan of Bhim Army and BSP and the benefit will go to the BJP. Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan`s visibility in the political realm is more today than Mayawati. He is young, dashing, honest, and dedicated whereas Mayawati is old and complacent. Physically, she is also suffering from a serious ailment.
Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM does not want Muslims should go to BSP. In the past few elections, Aimim’s election politics shows that the Dalits feel comfortable in joining and fighting elections on the ticket of AIMIM than on BSP or AAP. AAP is spreading wings in the state. Arvind Kejriwal knows that Mayawati is unstable and unreliable.
The majority of the Dalits in the state know that Mayawati has done nothing substantial for the Dalits. She only utilized their votes in promoting herself and in amassing huge wealth.
Before the elections of Uttar Pradesh, predators will emerge who will shout from the rooftop that this time Mayawati will be a Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh but as a matter of fact, they neither has any interest in Mayawati nor in the welfare of the Dalits. They are the people who come out of their house to loot the poor Dalits in the name of Mayawati. For example, Karol Gang comprises of rich Dalits, OBCs will come out of a snake pit. Every year, this group collects money from poor Dalits on the occasion of the birthday of Mayawati and fills their own pockets.
Dalits need to be cautious about such persons or groups. Dalits need to shut their doors. Dalits need not give their hard-earned money to such persons or groups. Similarly, there are certain groups in foreign countries operating in the name of Kanshi Ram. Beware of such an international group too. Mayawati can no longer steer the ship of the Dalits. Do not waste your hard-earned money, energy, time for the UP elections because Mayawati will not become a Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
Dr. Rahul Kumar, Ph.D. in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, is an independent political researcher. The views expressed in this article are personal.