The 2017 Uttar Pradesh Election result could be the beginning of the end for Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) as well as its supremo Mayawati. Soon after the trends showed a very disappointing start for the BSP, everybody was told that ‘Behenji’ would address a press conference in the afternoon. After visiting the various party offices, we reached her residence, where the conference was scheduled to take place. After reaching the place, I could feel an eerie silence inside the premises of the BSP supremo’s residence. It was expected that Mayawati would accept her defeat and will congratulate the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for such a massive win, however what happened there was as unexpected as the election result. After welcoming the media, the BSP chief directly launched a scathing attack on the saffron brigade and accused it of “tampering of electronic voting machines” (EVM).
She said that it is due to tampering of the EVMs, that her party has been decimated in the Uttar Pradesh elections. “Either the EVMs did not accept votes other than BJP, or the votes of other parties have gone to BJP in the EVMs,” Mayawati said after counting results show BJP sweeping the state elections. “Looks like voting machines have not accepted any vote from another party than BJP”, she added.
The BSP, which is showing a lead in only 17 seats of 403, was expected to get at least 80 votes according to most exit polls. Mayawati also challenged BJP president Amit Shah and asked him to conduct polls again, adding she will be proven correct. “Most votes in the Muslim majority constituencies have gone to BJP, (that) makes it evident that voting machines were manipulated,” she added.
“If you are honest, ask the poll panel to re-conduct polls with ballot paper,” she said.
We cannot deny the fact that such a landslide victory for the BJP was never expected, but we can’t even ignore the fact that such kind of reaction from the BSP chief wasn’t expected at all. She has emerged as a bad loser who despite losing so badly is now taking the support of ‘vague excuses’ to justify her loss.
Not faulty EVMs, but here are a few reasons for your loss:
- BSP has always staked claim on the Dalit votes. But this time, there was no connect with the voters on the ground. Mayawati’s campaigning was all about criticising PM Modi and his demonetisation move and alliance of the Samajwadi Party and Congress. She got so busy in doing this, that she failed to gauge-in other key factors such as employment opportunities for the youth and better educational facilities for all.
- Another reason for the BSP’s loss is that it didn’t shed away its old style campaigning. All this while, the BJP was busy in adapting to new tools of campaigning such as social media etc. Though the BSP tried to build a presence on the social media, but Mayawati’s ‘love’ for old ways of campaigning and giving technology and its advantages a complete miss, didn’t go down well with the young voters.
- It seems likely that non-Jatav Dalits have gone over again to the BJP, as happened in 2014. In 2012, Mayawati’s social engineering with Brahmin-Dalit-Muslims won majority for the BSP. But, since then the formula has not worked for the BSP.
- Top BSP leaders such as Swami Prasad Maurya, Jugal Kishore, Brijesh Pathak, Dara Singh Chauhan and RK Chaudhary quit after the 2014 Lok Sabha rout and joined the BJP. Though Mayawati always claimed that there was no impact on the party after senior leaders deserted it, the results are telling altogether a different tale.
- The ‘cash for ticket’ image has also ruined the BSP’s future. On numerous occasions in the past, Mayawati has been accused by her own party leaders of demanding cash for giving party tickets to prospective candidates. The image of taking bribe for fielding party candidate has eroded Mayawati’s credibility as a leader of Dalit, suppressed class in Uttar Pradesh.
- The 2014 Lok Sabha elections showed that Modi wave wiped out support base for Mayawati. The BSP got about 20 per cent votes in the parliamentary elections but the vote share did not translate into even a single seat.
- It seems that the demonetisation move has affected BSP the most. It is accused to have accumulated huge amount of unaccounted cash. After demonetisation of old currency notes, the BSP was left with little resources to fund its campaign.
So, clearly Mayawati must introspect, instead of coming up with bizarre reasons to defend her gradual waning away from Uttar Pradesh politics, election after election.