From Identity Politics to Identity Crisis: Mayawati Struggles to Revive BSP
The crisis in Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is difficult to understate. After suffering her third consecutive electoral rout, Mayawati is again trying to shape up the party. But the organisation might be slipping out of her grip like sand.
BSP Supremo Mayawati (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: The crisis in Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is difficult to understate. After suffering her third consecutive electoral rout, Mayawati is again trying to shape up the party. But the organisation might be slipping out of her grip like sand.
While she has been busy restructuring the party and blaming faulty electronic voting machines (EVMs) for the crushing defeat in Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, the cadre has been staging protests and her close aides have started turning in their resignations.
Last week the party tried to hold review meetings of its mandals, but the workers disrupted the meetings and burnt effigies of leaders like Naseemuddin Siddiqui in Aligarh, Ghaziabad, Jhansi, Meerut, Saharanpur, Moradabad and Etawah, accusing the party leadership of selling tickets.
Gautam has been an MLC from the party and a minister in the previous BSP government and Ambedkar has been Mayawati’s officer on special duty and has been with her for the last 14 years.
Such has been the anger against Mayawati and other senior leaders that when she called all senior organisation leaders to Lucknow on March 15, on occasion of party founder Kanshi Ram’s birth anniversary, not even 100 people turned up.
Meanwhile, in preparation for 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the party has dissolved 403 of its Vidhan Sabha committees. For the new assembly committees, the party has also decided to appoint a Scheduled Caste (SC) member as the president, an Other Backward Caste (OBC) member as general secretary and a Muslim as the treasurer. But the decision to restructure BSP seems to have come too late.
“We could have changed in 2012, but we didn’t. Neither did we change in 2014, nor in 2017. The top leadership of BSP is not listening to its cadre. There is no connect. While BSP became ideologically bankrupt, BJP emulated our formula and won the state. BJP had 60 tertiary organisations from RSS to help it, we allowed our parallel bodies like the song and dance wing Jagriti Jathha and our think tank BAMCEF to rot,” said Gangaram Ambedkar.
He added that there is a mood of despondency in the party. “We kept seeing our voters like Dhobis, Kurmis, Valmikis, Nats, Banjaras slip out of hand and we did nothing. And now the cadre believes that there is no way out of this free fall.”
The party though doesn’t think there is cause for worry. Talking to News18, BSP spokesperson Sudheendra Bhadoria rubbished the idea of revolt within the party. “Small time defections happen in all parties and more so in the case of BJP. But I don’t think there is any revolt within the party.”
Another senior leader indirectly blamed the BJP for protests and resignations. “Every other leader is now saying what our leader said on the day of results – that there was a large scale bungling in EVMs. This was done by the same party that is right now trying to foment trouble within BSP. We have called a nationwide protest against EVM fraud on April 11. Once you see the support for that event, you will believe how popular the party still is,” said Ram Kumar Kuril.
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