National

BSP will pose formidable challenge to BJP in eastern UP

AM Jigeesh Deoria | Updated on November 24, 2017

All for Behenji: BSP supporters at a mammoth rally addressed byMayawati (file photo)

Partymen on the ground confident Mayawati will stand up to Cong and BJP





Despite the BJP’s efforts to split Dalit votes, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is not just holding on to its base vote but fast emerging the most formidable force in stopping the BJP from sweeping the eastern region in the battleground State of Uttar Pradesh.

The BSP is running a quiet campaign, largely with party cadre spreading party supremo Mayawati’s message from door to door. The party’s strength on the ground is the biggest challenge for other contenders, namely the BJP and, at a distant second place, the Samajwadi Party.

What has surprised even the top leaders of the Dalit party is the unexpected support from Muslims.

Party workers maintain that with the addition of Muslim votes to their solid base of Dalits, they perceive a strong undercurrent for the BSP in this region.

“Only Mayawati is making an effort to block Narendra Modi from becoming Prime Minister.

This has naturally attracted the Muslims who do not want to see violence again in this land,” said Jubair Ahmed, a BSP activist from Kushi Nagar.

Mayawati has allotted ticket to 19 Muslims from Uttar Pradesh.

Party strategists say they have, of late, been flooded with invitations from Muslim leaders to explain the BSP’s position on several issues, including communalism.

“We do not have to explain anything to the Muslim samaj. The maulanas are doing their job better than any of us.

“They have understood that Mulayam Singh Yadav has been fooling them so far. The Muzaffarnagar riots opened their eyes.

“Under the Mayawati Government, the BJP and the RSS were not allowed to spread communal venom,” said Kasi, a local BSP leader near Lalganj.

Definite edge

The BSP has a definite edge in about 14 seats around Varanasi. The party had won five seats and secured the second slot in nine in the Poorvanchal region in the 2009 general elections.

The only caveat they place on the BSP’s sweep in the region is that, towards the polling date, the traditional voters of the SP and the Congress may end up transferring their votes to the BJP.

“In 2009, Mukhtar Ansari was tipped to win in Varanasi. But both the Congress and the SP transferred their votes to the BJP in the last minute.

“There is a tacit understanding between these parties against the BSP,” said Radheshyam Bharti, coordinator of the party in five constituencies near Varanasi.

The party believes that it should be the natural beneficiary of the anti-incumbency against the Centre and the State Governments.

“We are on the streets against the misrule of the SP Government. No other leader than Mayawati could raise their voice in Parliament on the issue of the denial of reservation in promotions in Government jobs.

“The poor people of all castes and religions have taken a note of this and they are voting for us,” said Bharti.

Muslim votes

The party is using a few issues to garner Muslim votes. It says that while the SP is a co-accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots, the Congress offered 5 per cent reservation for Jats despite the opposition from Muslims.

The party also reminds Muslim voters that not a single violent incident was reported after the Allahabad High Court verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute as it was Mayawati’s regime during the time the judgement was passed.

In certain seats, the BSP is also eyeing upper caste votes. One such is Salempur constituency, where it has fielded Ravishankar Singh Pappu, grandson of former PM Chandrashekhar.

Social engineering

“Here, upper caste votes are coming to us because of the personality of the candidate. The talks that all upper caste votes are going to the BJP are just baseless.

“The social engineering formula coined by Mayawati is working well here,” said Om Prakash Bharati, the coordinator for Salempur constituency.

In Azamgarh, where SP chief Mulayam is fighting sitting MP of the BJP Ramakant Yadav, the party expects the upper castes to vote for its candidate Guddu Jamali.

“There is an anti-Yadav mentality in upper caste voters. We may get the benefit of it,” said Rajesh Singh Mahuwari, a BSP worker in Azamgarh.

Published on May 04, 2014

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