After being an influential player in Uttar Pradesh politics for three decades, Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party has been relegated to the margins, with the party set to witness its poorest performance ever in the state assembly polls.
The party had won 19 seats in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly polls and had managed a vote share of over 21 per cent. But this time, the BSP has been restricted to single digits, with a vote share of 12.73 per cent.
When the BSP formed a government in Uttar Pradesh in 2007, it had bagged 206 seats and a vote share of 30.43 per cent.
Observers believe Mayawati failed to protect her core vote base from drifting towards the Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party. A part of the core voter deserted the BSP for the BJP as they felt that the ruling party had actually helped them through various welfare schemes. Some staunch BSP voters felt that the SP was the real force that would represent the opposition space in Uttar Pradesh.
The party, observers claimed, also failed to check the narrative that it has “surrendered” to the BJP.
Several leaders such as Indrajit Saroj, Lalji Verma, Ram Achal Rajbhar and Tribhuvan Dutt, who helped shape the BSP, also left the party for SP. Their exit from the BSP left the core voters in a disarray and they looked for other options in the state, including BJP and SP.
But some observers were of the view that the BJP was able to win over the “non-Yadav OBC” and “non-Jatav Dalit” voters of the SP and the BSP respectively.
The BSP achieved a better strike rate than the SP when it formed an alliance with the SP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. BSP won 10 seats in Lok Sabha while SP won five.
Apparently, Mayawati took the “hasty” step of breaking the alliance and not continuing it till the present assembly polls, observers said.
They felt that the BSP grassroots cadre was in favour of continuing the alliance to take on the BJP.
The BSP’s latest performance is being seen in contrast with its 2007 show in the assembly polls when Mayawati was lauded for her formula of social engineering to attract Brahmins into a party which had a massive Dalit base. (PTI)