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BSP’s Lok Sabha Journey from three to zero

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New Delhi, Feb 25: For the first time, the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) has joined hands with its bête-noire, the Samajwadi Party (SP), in Uttar Pradesh for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections scheduled in April-May.

Mayawati

The BSP was founded by late Kanshi Ram on April 14, 1984, on the birth anniversary of late Dalit icon Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.

Since the BSP was not registered as a political party, so he fought his first Lok Sabha election in 1984 as an Independent candidate from Janjgir seat in Chhattisgarh, where Dalit voters are deciding factor. Though he lost the election but was on third position by securing 32135 votes.

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Before 1989 General Elections, the party was registered and it fielded candidates on 245 seats.

The BSP tasted first success when it won three seats, two from Uttar Pradesh and one from Punjab. Its vote share was 2.07%.

Current BSP President Mayawati was the winner from Bijnor seat, and Ram Kishana from Azamgarh seat in Uttar Pradesh. In Punjab, the party's lone successful candidate was Harbhajan Lakha, who won Phillaur seat.

In the 1991 mid-term elections, the party fielded candidates on 231 seats. However, it won only two seats and its vote share dropped from 2.07% in 1989 to 1.6%.

Party founder Kanshi Ram for the first time won Lok Sabha election from Etawah in Uttar Pradesh.

Due to militancy, Lok Sabha polls were not held in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab in 1991. However, Punjab went to polls in 1992. The BSP fielded candidates on 12 seats and won Ferozepur seat. Its vote share was third at 19.71%. Only the Congress and the BJP were ahead with 49.27% and 16.51% respectively.

The Lok Sabha elections in 1996 proved very successful for the party as it touched double digits by winning 11 seats. The party's vote share also rose to 4.02%.

The party had fielded 251 candidates in many states but it got success in three states: Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh.

The BSP won Sambhal, Shahabad, Akbarpur, Lalganj, Fatehpur, and Banda Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh.

The party had given ticket to D.P. Yadav from Sambhal Parliamentary constituency, who had criminal background with registered cases related to murder, kidnapping, and extortion etcetera. His son Vikash Yadav was later convicted in Nitish Katara murder case of 2002.

In Punjab, the BSP won Phillaur, Hoshiarpur, and Ferozepur Lok Sabha seats. Kanshi Ram was the winner from Hoshiarpur seat.

When the 1998 mid-term Parliamentary elections were announced then the BSP had become a national party. It contested on 251 seats and won five seats. Its vote share also increased up to 4.67%. For the first time, the party registered first win in Haryana when Aman Kumar Nagra bagged Ambala Lok Sabha seat. Rest of the seats came from Uttar Pradesh.

Mayawati returned to the Lok Sabha from Akbarpur seat. The winner from Bahraich Parliamentary constituency was Arif Mohammad Khan, who was Civil Aviation and Energy minister in Janata Dal government in 1989. Before joining the Janata Dal, Khan was with the Congress. Later he also left the BSP to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2004.

From 1999 to 2009 was the golden period for the party as it improved its performance in every Lok Sabha election.

In 1999 mid-term Lok Sabha elections, the BSP contested on 225 seats and won 14. However, its vote share shrank a little bit to 4.16%.

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All the success for the party came from Uttar Pradesh where it bagged Amroha, Shahabad, Sitapur, Sultanpur, Akbarpur, Salempur, Ghosi, Lalganj, Chail, Banda, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Ghatampur, and Saharanpur Lok Sabha seats.

Mayawati retained Akbarpur seat. Rashid Alvi, who later joined the Congress, won Amroha seat.

Buoyed with her party's success in 1999, Mayawati fielded party candidates on 435 seats in many states during 2004 general elections. But, the party was only successful in Uttar Pradesh where it put 19 seats in its kitty with a vote share of 5.33%.

The seats were: Shahabad, Sitapur, Misrikh, Unnao, Sultanpur, Akbarpur, Faizabad, Bara Banki, Basti, Domariaganj, Khalilabad, Azamgarh, Machhlishahr, Chandauli, Robertsganj, Mirzapur, Fatehpur, Bilhaur, and Meerut.

Mayawati had won from Akbarpur seat but she announced that she would not contest direct elections. She resigned from the Lok Sabha when she was elected to the Rajya Sabha. The Samajwadi Party won Akbarpur seat during the by-poll.

Mayawati extended support to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government but later withdrew it in June 2008 alleging that the Congress-led government was harassing her government in Uttar Pradesh.

She had become Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister for the fourth time on May 13, 2007.

The party reached its acme in 2009 Lok Sabha elections when it won 20 seats in Uttar Pradesh: Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Sambhal, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Aligarh, Fatehpur Sikri, Sitapur, Misrikh, Hamirpur, Phulpur, Ambedkar Nagar, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Deoria, Lalganj, Ghosi, Salempur, Jaunpur, and Bhadohi.

The BSP fielded had fielded 500 candidates and ended up with a vote share of 6.17%.

However, the party saw its worst performance ever in 2014 General Elections when it failed to even win a single seat, mainly because of the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's wave.

The present BSP-SP alliance is the result of both the parties' performance in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The SP, another powerful party of Uttar Pradesh, could only win five seats.

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