The recent Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly election has once again exposed the continuing decline of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). In this, the BSP has got only one seat and it has been badly wiped out while Mayawati claimed to form the government with an absolute majority. In this election, the vote percentage of BSP has come down from 22.3% in 2017 to 12.7% only. Its 19 seats in 2017 have been reduced to only one and that too the candidate has won on his own strength. Thus, the vote percentage has come down by about 10 percent. It is also known that in 2007 the BSP had won 206 seats and its vote share was 30.43%. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the BSP won 21 seats and had a vote share of 6.1%. The vote share of the BSP in the 2012 Legislative Assembly election was 26% and it won 80 seats. In 2014, BSP did not get a single seat in the Lok Sabha election but its vote share was 4.1%. In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BSP got 10 seats in alliance with the SP and its vote share was 4.2%.
It is clear from the above description that after 2007 in Uttar Pradesh, BSP’s seats and vote percentage in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections has been continuously falling and has reached the lowest level in 2022 elections. In such a situation, the question arises that why did this happen and who is responsible for it? Is its leadership responsible for this or are its policies responsible or both? Is there a need for a radical change in the leadership and policies of the party in such a situation? If so, is it possible and what measures are needed for this?
Let us first look at the leadership position in BSP. As everyone is aware that in 2006, Mayawati became the national president of BSP when Kanshi Ram was alive. Since then, she has been the Sarvasarva (all-in-all) of BSP for almost 16 years. It is also to be known that during the time of Kanshi Ram and after that no other leadership was allowed to emerge in BSP other than Mayawati. It is also well known that when Kanshi Ram was head of the party, Mayawati had expelled Kanshi Ram’s close associates one by one and gave posts to her confidants in the party. Kanshi Ram had said that no member of my family will become an office-bearer in the party. But Mayawati first gave her nephew Akash Anand the high post of National Coordinator in the party in 2021 and now there is talk of him becoming Mayawati’s successor. Now on February 9, 2022, a day before the results of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly elections were declared, Mayawati declared her brother Anand Kumar as the national vice-president of the party and her nephew Akash Anand as the national co-ordinator. This was done because Mayawati was anticipating that the election results would be bad and feared a ruckus about doing so after the results were declared. Apart from her, the most influential leader in the party, Satish Chandra Mishra, is in the post of General Secretary, who is Mayawati’s closest confidant.
It is clear from the above description that the party leadership especially Mayawati which has a very strong hold on the party, is responsible for the downfall of BSP in the elections. In such a situation, is it possible that any other office-bearer can dare to raise the demand for change of leadership in the party? Can BSP supporters dare to raise the demand for change of leadership in the party? It is also a fact that within the BSP there is a large army of blind devotees and sycophants of Mayawati who mobilize against those who question Mayawati’s leadership. They are not ready to see any deficiency in Mayawati’s leadership and point fingers at her. From this it can be concluded that in the present circumstances, there is no possibility of change of leadership in BSP.
Now if the policies, agenda and functioning of BSP are seen, then it has not been a Dalit party in any way. Till date no Dalit agenda of Mayawati has come to the fore. Its main agenda has been only to get power and use it in her own interest. Mayawati has never made major issues of Dalits like landlessness, unemployment, oppression, education and health services etc. as her political agenda. The result of this is that there has been no change in the condition of Dalits during her four-time chief ministership except emotional satisfaction. On the contrary, there have been many works of Mayawati which were very anti-Dalit. For example, in 1997, Mayawati had banned the implementation of the SC/ST Act on the grounds that it could be misused, leading to neither punishment for oppressors of Dalits nor due compensation to Dalits. Later in 2002, the said order was cancelled by the Dalit organizations by the order of the High Court. This act of Mayawati was very anti-Dalit and harmful. Similarly, in 2008, a very anti-Dalit/tribal attitude was adopted by Mayawati in implementing the Forest Rights Act. 81% of their land claims were cancelled due to which the sword of eviction hangs over them even today. Similarly, in 2007, Mayawati withdrew the order of appointment of Dalit cooks in some schools due to protests against the preparation of mid-day meals by Dalit cooks. Even after this, till date there has been no change in Mayawati’s policies, nor does there seem to be any hope of any change in her leadership. Even today her goal is to get power in any way. It is clear from this that Mayawati is directly responsible for the lack of Dalit agenda and anti-Dalit policies.
It is also well known that corruption not only continued but also increased during Mayawati’s rule like the previous governments. Mayawati’s personal corruption is also not hidden from anyone. Selling Assembly and Lok Sabha tickets to Dalit opponents and criminals by bidding and getting them the votes of Dalits to win is not hidden from anyone. Mayawati asked Dalits to vote for the same goons/rogues with whom they fought. In this way the distinction of friend and foe was erased among the Dalits and they blindly followed the orders of Mayawati. Thus, the liberation struggle of Dalits went out of its way and they remained as slaves bought by Mayawati. It is also well known that at present Mayawati is badly entangled in statues/monuments stone scam, NRHM scam and 21 sugarcane mills selling scam etc. which is being investigated by CBI and ED. Apart from this, Mayawati’s own brother is implicated in the case of investment of black money in fake companies and money-laundering. ED has also seized 400 crores of Mayawati’s brother. Fearing CBI and ED, Mayawati lives under the pressure of BJP and she cannot contest elections independently but for the benefit of the BJP as it has happened in the recent assembly elections. In such a situation, it is absolutely not possible for Mayawati to do honest politics, which Dalits need a lot.
It is clear from the above brief description that in the present circumstances it is absolutely not possible to change the leadership of BSP as it has become pocket party of Mayawati. At this point of time, neither from within the party nor from outside, there can be any challenge to Mayawati’s leadership. It is also clear from the activities of the party so far that there is no possibility of any change in the policies of the party. In such a situation, there is only one option left and that is to create a new political alternative by breaking free from the political slavery of Mayawati. That alternative should be anti-global finance, anti-corporatisation, agricultural development, making employment a fundamental right, labour friendly, defender of democracy, universal quality education, health services and peace and friendly relations with neighbouring countries. We have created such an option for the last 10 years as All India People’s Front. You can find out more about it on the net at aipfr.org.
S R Darapuri, National President, All India People’s Front