The stage is set for the 2022 state assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and so are the major political players in the state be it the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party or Samajwadi Party or the Bahujan Samaj Party. Political leaders have started thinking about greener pastures and in the coming days, we may witness many switchovers as well. Meanwhile, with the recent meeting of BSP MLAs with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav there were speculations that many BSP MLAs may switch over to SP soon.
Meanwhile, amidst all the discussions, a new force has arisen across the state to strengthen the BSP in the upcoming 2022 state assembly polls. This force is not commanded by any well-known leader of the party, but they are a bunch of youngsters from across the walks of society who want to take ahead the values of the BSP. These youngsters may not be party workers but many of them have started campaigns to make ‘Behen Ji’ the next Chief Minister of the state.
Some of the slogans raised by these social media activists which are getting popular include, “Wohi Hamara Sathi Hoga, Jis Jhande Pe Hathi Hoga,” (Whosever flag will carry an elephant will be our companion) “Bache Hain Ab Kuch Din Shesh, Behen Ji Sambhalengi Uttar Pradesh,” (Only a few days are left and now Behen Ji will take care of Uttar Pradesh) and “Jan Jan Ki Hai Yahi Pukar, Maya Behen Ji Abki Baar" (This is the call of the people, this time it will be Maya Behen). The unique thing about these online campaigns is that the workers of the party whose chief herself became active on social media for a long time, have created a huge circle on social media. It is a well-known fact that for many years BSP Chief Mayawati was not very active on social media and she joined Twitter in October 2018.
These youngsters are connecting people at a fast pace through Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. This includes not only the young workers of the party but also students preparing for competitive examinations, writers, teachers and journalists. Some of these youngsters have lakhs of followers on social media platforms as well.
A Twitter user, Manorama Sumit Anand is not a member of BSP but is spreading the thoughts of BSP through Twitter in the whole country. Manorama, a resident of Mathura, has 84,000 followers on Twitter. Similarly, a teacher by profession Shilpa Ambedkar also has 84,000 followers. Hina Gautam has 38,000 followers. Mahi Ambedkar of Jalaun, who is an author, has 81,000 followers on Twitter. Lucknow’s Amita Ambedkar is not much on Twitter but has millions of followers on Facebook. Hundreds of such examples can be taken where the following of these youngsters is in lakhs and who are continuously working day and night for BSP.
Apart from this, many youngsters are also engaged in strengthening BSP through YouTube channels and websites. YouTube channels like Ambedkarite People’s Voice, BHIM TV, and The Think have millions of subscribers. Websites like bahujanbolega.com, bahujansanghtan.in also have a good readership.
This can be called a big change in the BSP, as along with the party Chief Mayawati, the party’s cadre was also away from social media, but in the last two-three years, the situation has changed. Writer Vikas Jatav says, “The party’s attitude of not agitating on the streets has been criticized. Now this shortcoming has been compensated through social media. However, there are very important reasons why party workers do not agitate on the road which is in the interest of the BSP cadre.”
Agra-based Dalit thinker and journalist Murari Lal Bharti said, “Even though rumors are being spread that BSP is on the verge of being finished, it is the only party in the country, which is a factory to make leaders. This will be evident in the 2022 UP elections.”
However, it is equally correct to say that the image which is being built will have a profound effect on the election. The BSP’s youth brigade may be working hard, but the responsibility of maintaining the momentum depends on the party and its organizational structure. To what extent will this youth brigade energy be reflected in the election results, this will be known in the 2022 state assembly elections.