When out of power in UP, BSP loses sway

When out of power in UP, BSP loses sway

Mayawati not being in power in UP may have an impact on the voting pattern of Schedule Castes. (DH File Photo)

Call it the USP of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). Mayawati is no longer in power but the Congress and the BJP are still spending sleepless nights.

The BSP chief is no more the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, she is no longer an MP in the Rajya Sabha, her party could not win a single Lok Sabha seat in 2014 and came a poor third in the 2017 Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, yet it is the BSP which is giving the Congress and the BJP jitters in the three Hindi belt states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

All eyes are on the BSP’s alliance with the Ajit Jogi-led Janata Congress in Chhattisgarh, where elections have so far been a direct affair between the Congress and the BJP in which the former lost to the saffron party by a margin of just 0.75%.

DH Infographics

As the Congress and the BJP worry over which side of the support base it the BSP cut into, they can take relief from the fact that the BSP’s vote percentage has not been static in the three Hindi-belt states whenever it is out of power in UP.

Indications are that the BSP’s support base could be squeezed with the electoral battle being a direct one this time. Mayawati not being in power in UP may have an impact on the voting pattern of Schedule Castes.

Moreover, keen to douse the fire in the backyard, she is also deploying all her resources in UP after the devastating performance recently.

It was not for any other reason that the local leadership of the Congress in Rajasthan showed its disinclination for a tie-up with the BSP in Rajasthan.

In Madhya Pradesh also, there is a view that not tying up with the BSP has helped consolidate votes of the upper castes, who were angry with the BJP after its strong pro-Scheduled Caste stance on quota and SC/ST Act.

In 2008, when Mayawati was chief minister, the BSP won seven seats in Madhya Pradesh, five more than 2003, six in Rajasthan, four more than 2003 and two in Chhattisgarh, a repeat of 2003.

In 2008, it secured 7.6% of the votes in Rajasthan, almost twice the 3.98% it secured in 2003; 6.12% in Chhattisgarh as against 4.45% of 2003 and around 9% in Madhya Pradesh, nearly 1.5% more than the 7.6% it got in 2003.

In 2007, Mayawati became chief minister for a full five-year term and her party’s vote percentage in various states climbed up in the Assembly elections held in this period.

Again, in comparison, when the BSP was not in power in UP in 2013, it got 4.27% votes in Chhattisgarh, 3.4% in Rajasthan and 6.3% in Madhya Pradesh, less than what it got in the previous election.