Friday, November 13, 2009

[ZESTCaste] For BSP, it is now back to Bahujan politics

For BSP, it is now back to Bahujan politics
Sanjay Singh

Posted online: Thursday , Nov 12, 2009 at 0345 hrs

Lucknow : The BSP's good show in the Assembly by-elections, which
comes at the halfway mark of the BSP government in UP, lays down the
agenda for the second half of Chief Minister Mayawati's tenure.
In all likelihood, she is going to further strengthen the "back to
Bahujan" policy, which she had adopted after the Lok Sabha elections,
as she prepares for the 2012 Assembly elections.

BSP founder Kanshiram had defined Bahujan as the combination of Dalits
and OBCs.

Mayawati started working on this combination after the BSP's poor show
in the Lok Sabha election.

Until then, the party had depended on a Dalit-Brahmin combination, as
it had worked well in the 2007 Assembly elections.

The Lok Sabha election compelled the BSP to go back to the basics and
it has paid off. The party has won 9 of the 11 Assembly bypolls.

The party's success in OBC constituencies like Etawah, Bharthna,
Padrauna and Jhansi indicates that the party has been able to win over
these communities.

Barring Jhansi, in all the constituencies, the BSP candidates have won
by a convincing margin, even in places like Bharthana and Etawah,
which were regarded as Mulayam Singh's stronghold.

In Jhansi, BSP's Kailash Sahu won by a margin of only 9 votes, but
here too the fact is that the party's nearest rival was its rebel.

While the BSP's state president and its OBC face Swami Prasad Maurya
registered his victory by more than 53,000 votes in Padrauna, Mahendra
Singh Rajpoot of BSP won the Etawah seat by a margin of 32,000 votes.

In Bharthana, BSP candidate Shiv Prasad Yadav won by 15,776 votes. In
August, BSP candidate Mahesh Verma had won the Bidhuna seat in the OBC

In the Lok Sabha election, the BSP had won 21 seats, ending up behind
the Congress and the SP in the seat tally — both of which had won 22
seats each. The number was far below the party's expectations. The
party had won only two of the 17 reserved seats, while the SP won 10
reserved seats — that set the alarm bells ringing.

At a meeting of party leaders from various states, which was called in
May to discuss the poll results, Mayawati had first spelled out the
transition to Bahujan politics.

To promote the OBCs, she sent Ganga Charan Rajpoot to the Rajya Sabha,
and Vinay Shakya who had lost to Mulayam Singh in the last Lok Sabha
in Mainpuri was her choice for a berth in the Legislative Council.

She also projected her close aide Mines Minister Babu Singh Kushwaha
by giving him five important portfolios and deputing him to hear the
grievances of the legislators on her behalf.

Simultaneously, she started paying greater attention to the Dalits.
She deputed officers especially to visit Dalit areas and get the
feedback on the functioning of various government schemes and take
corrective measures.

Mayawati had also tasked the then DGP to visit all places of crime
against SCs/STs and pay cash relief, although the order was later
withdrawn. She also introduced a quota for SCs/STs in government

According to party sources, the CM may now revamp both her ministry
and the party organisation by accommodating new OBC faces.

Apart from Maurya, the CM might consider the names of Mahendra
Rajpoot, Mahesh Verma, and Shiv Prasad Yadav for induction in the

She will also continue to win over influential OBC leaders from other
parties. There is little doubt that she will also vigorously pursue
pro-Dalit policies.


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