BSP supremo Mayawati is nicely pacing her innings to return to the limelight, after two years. She had announced early on Tuesday morning that two of her party's MLAs in Uttarakhand-Sarwat Karim Ansari and Haridas-would support the Congress in the northern state's floor test. [Democracy has won, says Congress]
For the former chief minister of UP who drew blank in the last Lok Sabha election, thanks to the Narendra Modi wave, the floor test on Uttarakhand was very much significant. [SC likely to declare Uttarakhand floor test verdict on May 11]
Apparently, it was expected that the two BSP MLAs would support Harish Rawat since they were part of the six-member Progressive Democratic Front backing the Congress government. But the significance of Mayawati's move doesn't end with this. [Uttarakhand result setback for Modi govt: Kejriwal]
A welcome opportunity for Mayawati
Nine months ahead of the UP election, it was a strategy at play for the Dalit leader. By backing the Congress at the last moment, Mayawati gave the message that she is against the BJP. This means the BJP will have its task cut out to retain the Dalit votes it had pulled towards it in 2014.
'To Dalits & Muslims, I am a distance away from BJP'
The second aim of Mayawati's move is the Muslim votes in UP. The BSP backed the Congress for it is an easier route to reach out to the minorities who it desperately wants to return to power. With the ruling Samajwadi Party losing the trust of the Muslims fast, the BSP supremo senses a big oppportunity to fill in the vacuum and for that, doing something against the BJP amounts to the best foot forward.
Besides, one of the BSP MLA's in Uttarakhand is a Muslim and Mayawati is clever to not allow him back the BJP, hurting her own chances in UP. Even staying neutral in the voting would dent Mayawati's image in the big poll of 2017.
In 2007, when Maywati had last become the chief minister of UP by winning 206 seats, both the Dalits and Muslims had backed her party. The leader is eyeing a similar non-polarisation of votes this time in an attempt to repeat the 2007 feat.
Moreover, supporting the Congress is no loss for the BSP for the former is too weak to challenge the latter in UP election.
Even eyeing Uttarakhand election next year where BSP is third-largest party
Supporting Rawat was also a tactical part of Mayawati's gameplan for the 2017 Uttarakhand Assembly election. The BSP has been the third-largest party in Uttarakhand in all three elections held in that young state since 2002, after the Congress and BJP.
In 2002, the BSP had got seven seats in Uttarakhand with around 11 per cent vote-share. In 2007, it got eight seats with a vote share of 11.8 per cent while in 2012, it got three seats but its vote-share went up to 12.2. with the BJP committing a major blunder in the state which it had given birth to in 2000, there is every chance of it losing its face in that state in days to come and the BSP could reap a major benefit in that case.