Editorial: BSP stands compromised with its ‘no’ to Opposition alliance

Editorial: BSP stands compromised with its ‘no’ to Opposition alliance

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Wednesday, January 17, 2024, 10:33 PM IST
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Cartoon | Mika

In a significant political development, Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati last week declared that her party would not join I.N.D.I.A, the alliance of Opposition parties, and that the BSP would go it alone in the coming Lok Sabha elections. This did not cause any surprise in political circles. She had been lying low for some time, having appointed her young nephew, Anand Prakash, as the working president of the party. The Opposition parties were disappointed, fearing that she would divide the Opposition vote particularly in the key State of UP which returns 80 members to the Lok Sabha. The BSP was not invited to any of the meetings of the I.N.D.I.A bloc, though she has maintained distance from the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance as well. Mayawati, who turned 68 earlier this week, said her experience with alliances had never been beneficial to the BSP, griping that whereas the BSP vote is transferred to the alliance partner, the latter never transferred its vote to her party. There is some merit in her argument. Mayawati’s supporters loyally heed her call whereas supporters of other parties in alliance with her fail to vote for the BSP. In the 2019 poll, the BSP and the SP fought together, with the former winning ten seats while the SP succeeded in five. Immediately afterwards a bitter war of words ensued, causing a complete rupture in ties between the erstwhile partners. In the Assembly poll in UP in 2022, both the BSP and the SP contested separately. Though SP won more seats, the BSP vote share was still significant at 13%. The Congress in the state has for long been relegated to a poor fourth place. The Congress party is keen for an alliance with the BSP, especially when the BSP and the SP are now bitter foes. It is unlikely that the BSP will join either the I.N.D.I.A bloc or the ruling NDA. Fighting the Lok Sabha poll on its own may not win the BSP many seats but at least it will help in reviving the party which has been virtually dormant since the Assembly poll in UP in 2022. The Opposition leaders hint that the fear of investigating agencies was the reason for Mayawati’s refusal to join the I.N.D.I.A bloc. There may be some substance in the charge, given that the UPA Government too had kept Mayawati in check by threatening the use of the agencies to investigate the enormous wealth she had accumulated over the years. Significantly, she has not ruled out supporting a party post-election in government formation. In other words, BSP stands compromised, feeling obliged to support whoever wins power at the Centre.

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