BSP implodes ahead of critical UP polls next year: What lies ahead for Mayawati?
New Delhi, June 16: The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati's troubles seem to be multiplying with rebel party MLA's planning to form a separate outfit ahead of the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
With the move, the BSP which once had more than 200 members is now reduced to almost a 'non-entity'. There are 18 BSP MLAs in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly. This is due to large-scale desertion and expulsion of leaders by party supremo Mayawati within a span of 10 years.
While the BJP has been the biggest gainer, SP has also admitted several senior BSP leaders in its ranks.
The recent setbacks make one question clear, whether she will be relevant in Uttar Pradesh?
BSP history of splits
Formed in 1984 by Kanshi Ram, the Bahujan Samaj Party has been prone to splits ever since Mayawati took over the reins of the party.
In 1995, Samajwadi Party MLAs and their supporters barged into a Lucknow guesthouse where Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati was meeting her MLAs, purportedly to pull the plug on the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led coalition government.
She went on to become the chief minister with the support of the BJP. Years later, in 2019, the SP and the BSP came together again to fight against the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections, only to part ways again.
Why a steady exodus?
The BSP president recently expelled two senior leaders, including the BSP's legislature party leader Lalji Verma and its former state unit president Ram Achal Rajbhar for anti-party activities during the panchayat elections.
Over the past four years, Mayawati has expelled as many as eleven rebel BSP MLAs after reports of them jumping ship emerged. Aslam Raini, Aslam Ali Chowdhari, Muztaba Siddiqui, Hakim Lal Bind, Hargobind Bhargav, Sushma Patel, Vandana Singh, Ramvir Upadhyay and Anil Singh had been expelled by BSP supremo, Mayawati in the past four years after the 2017 elections in UP.
The BSP won 19 seats in the elections and lost one in a by-poll. The BSP has 18 MLAs in the UP assembly and Mayawati had expelled 11 in the past four years. The seven MLAs who rebelled during the Rajya Sabha elections last year were expelled and that leaves the party with only seven MLAs in the assembly. These MLAs have however not been disqualified in the assembly as yet.
What now for BSP's Mayawati
Even as ruling BJP, opposition parties like SP and Congress have begun their poll preparations for the UP polls in 2022, the BSP's future is not known.
The BSP supremo seems to be in no mood to reclaim her position in the opposition turf. She has gone into a shell since the 2019 polls and has not come out of her bungalow.
The BSP's best performance dates back to 2009, when the party formed the government with 206 seats out of 403 and a vote share of 30%. Over the years it has fallen to 80 seats (25%) in 2012 and 19 seats (22%) in 2017.
Since snapping the alliance with SP, BSP, Mayawati's BSP has hit a rock bottom. Both SP and BSP have hardened their stance since 2019 Lok Sabha elections. However, if BSP-SP comes together with a promise that their alliance will give Uttar Pradesh a new Chief Minister, chances are wide open for BSP to stay in power.