BSP’s policies cost it dearly

In yet another flip-flop, BSP supremo Mayawati reinstated nephew Akash Anand as the national coordinator of the party and her heir over seven weeks after she removed him from these positions during the general elections. This move comes after the BSP performed poorly in the recent Lok Sabha election. Especially in UP, where Mayawati has been the chief minister, the party performed badly as the election turned into a straight contest between the the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance and the INDIA bloc of the Congress and the Samajwadi Party (SP). The BSP failed to win a single seat – down from 10 (all from UP) in the 17th Lok Sabha – and its vote share fell below 10 per cent.

However, Chandrasekhar Azad, a potential rival to Mayawati’s leadership claim over UP’s large Dalit population, won the Nagina reserved seat with a majority of over 1.5 lakh votes. Azad’s victory and the INDIA bloc’s success serve as a warning to the BSP, which has seen its support decline even in the UP Assembly after being in office for a full term from 2007 to 2012. The results also reflect a churn in Dalit politics. Mayawati has always spoken against dynastic politics in the past. But now she is following a similar trend. The BSP’s failure to take strong stand on several issues, along with its soft policy towards the BJP, seems to have cost party dearly in the election. It is neither part of the ruling BJP nor playing the role of a strong opposition. This seems to have confused its core voters. The Dalits in big numbers have voted for the Congress this time. The BSP’s loss is the Congress’s gain. Only time will tell whether the move to reinstate Akash Anand as the party’s national coordinator will revive the BSP’s fortunes.