BSP strays from social engineering plank

Upper caste leaders fear backlash in their respective constituencies

The Bahujan Samaj Party’s aggressive pursuit to get the bill on quota in promotion for SC/ST passed in Parliament may have gone down well with its traditional dalit vote bank, but it is a clear sign that the party is shelving its much-touted social engineering formula which catapulted it to power in 2007.

BSP leaders, especially those from the upper castes, here are “surprised” at their supremo Mayawati's aggressive campaign for quota in promotion as they feel that such an open support will wean away the party's support base among the upper castes and spells the end of “sarvajan hitay” (for the interest of all).

“It seems Mayawati has decided to focus only on her traditional dalit vote bank and is not bothered about the impact of the bill on the BSP's upper caste voters,” quipped a senior BSP leader here while speaking to Deccan Herald. The upper caste leaders of the party fear backlash in their respective constituencies over their party's stand on quota in promotion issue.

The “social engineering” formula that envisaged bring the dalit and Brahmins together enabled the BSP to reap rich electoral dividends in the Assembly polls in 2007. In the 2012 Assembly polls, the BSP failed to secure the Brahmin votes and hence its tally of seats came crashing down to 100 only. “The Brahmins had left us in 2012...now the other upper caste voters will also turn away after the quota controversy and our party's stand on the same,” the leader remarked.

Another section of BSP leaders attribute Mayawati's stand on the issue to her attempt to remain afloat politically in UP. “Mayawati needed to woo the dalits aggressively...she fears that she will lose her core vote bank also if she does not aggressively pursue the bill,” said another BSP leader.

The leader remarked that by focusing on the dalits, Mayawati would at least secure enough number of seats so that she remained “relevant” in the central politics.

 “We can try the sarvajan hitaya formula later also,” he added. With the Congress and the BJP already on the back foot in terms of drawing the upper castes, the Samajwadi Party (SP) has sensed a great opportunity for it and it has gone all out to woo them. It remains to be seen if the BSP's game plan of wooing the dalits pays off electorally in the next Lok Sabha polls in 2014.

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