The Elephant Collapses

Mayawati’s precipitate actions over the last three weeks bode ill for the BSP, reportsVirendra Nath Bhatt

Future tense Many believe the CM has a ghost of a chance in winning again,
Future tense: Many believe the CM has a ghost of a chance in winning again, Photo: Shailendra Pandey

IN THE 2007 UP Assembly elections, the Bahujan Samaj Party, riding the crest of anti-incumbency wave against the Samajwadi Party, created history of sorts by winning a simple majority and formed the government on its own. Before this, the last time any party attained a majority in the UP Assembly was the BJP in the 1991 Assembly elections.

In the 2012 elections, the BSP elephant is trampling underfoot not only the core vote bank but the newly co-opted upper castes. With Mayawati’s social engineering formula now shattered beyond recognition, close to two dozen ministers either sacked on corruption charges or still under investigation by the Lokayukta and massive anti-incumbency, a change of guard is imminent in the state.

Moreover, the BSP, which had won the 2007 election on the plank of abolishing the corrupt ‘Jungle Raj’ and ‘Goonda Raj’ and sending SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to jail, is itself embroiled in charges of corruption and patronising criminals. It’s indeed a sad commentary on the decline of the Dalit party which came to power with a bang. Against a victory of 206 seats in the 2007 Assembly elections, it won as few as 100 Assembly segments in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll. The decline is rapid.

“Mayawati has already lost power,” says Ashok Mishra, former secretary of the state CPI, adding, “There is no doubt that the Samajwadi Party is way ahead of its rivals in the poll fray. The BJP, by admitting the most recognisable face of corruption, Babu Singh Kushwaha, and other tainted BSP leaders in the party, has committed hara-kiri. We have to wait for the poll results to see who finishes second, the BSP or the Congress.”

Virendra Nath Bhatt is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.


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