Weak SP could make Dalit-Muslim unity work for BSP

Mayawati is expected to carry out new social engineering in UP for next assembly poll, of turning Dalit, Muslim and Yadavs and some more dominant communities against upper caste and extremely backward classes consolidation in favour of BJP. (PTI File Photo)

Mayawati’s BSP could be a real beneficiary of increasing political marginalisation of its past arch-rival Samajwadi Party that is expected to ignite Muslim-Dalit consolidation by default, something which her mentor late Kanshi Ram tried hard during his tenure.

In last one month, three Rajya Sabha MPs of Samajwadi Party have quit their parent party and joined the BJP. Two more are said to be in the queue.

This comes after SP’s tepid performance in Lok Sabha polls in which its alliance with BSP ended up paying off Mayawati’s BSP more than Akhilesh Yadav with the former winning 10 Lok Sabha seats, double of five that the SP won.

Mayawati, who immediately after the Lok Sabha poll results snapped ties with SP, has repeatedly trained guns on the Samajwadi Party along Congress over many issues, seeking to project herself as the only alternative to the BJP.

In 2017 assembly polls, the Congress and SP had fought together while BSP alone fought against the BJP. An alliance with Congress had made the SP first choice of Muslims, which even otherwise did not trust BSP fully owing to its past of aligning with BJP.

Mayawati is expected to carry out new social engineering in UP for next assembly poll, of turning Dalit, Muslim and Yadavs and some more dominant communities against upper caste and extremely backward classes consolidation in favour of BJP.

Already in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, of its 10 MPs, BSP has three from the Muslim community and one from Yadav community while SP has three from Muslim community among its five—the rest two being Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav. It is believed that a section of Yadavs preferred the BJP over SP in Lok Sabha polls.

Not a new phenomenon

The attempt to arrive at a Dalit-Muslim-OBC consolidation is not something new. It has been resonating in the political arena from Kanshi Ram's time.

Addressing the ‘Bahujan Samaj Banao’ rally in Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh in November 2018,  Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad made a strong pitch for Dalit-Muslim unity asserting that the combination can play a major role in future politics of Uttar Pradesh.

In February 2017, when Mayawati had roped in Qaumi Ekta Dal of jailed don Mukhtar Ansari, it was seen as an attempt in that direction.

The power struggle in SP’s family backyard—a tussle between Akhilesh Yadav and her estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav, coupled with the defeat of the SP, has already disillusioned Yadavs.

Muslims constitute of 19.3% of the total population in UP while Dalits divided into 21 castes (maximum of Jatavs) constitute of 21.1% and Yadavs 9 %. Earlier Muslims and Yadavs worked together making SP a formidable contender to power. Off late, there has been a breach in Yadav votes.

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