By Yash Shukla
Beleaguered Supremo of the BSP Mayawati in a rally at Meeruth brought her brother Anand Kumar and his son Aakash Kumar at the forefront which is being seen as the ushering of one more dynastic political party in the country. What is going to unravel in its future is certainly going to have an effect on her decision.
Mayawati’s downfall began in 2012 when Akhilesh led Samajwadi Party formed the government with an overwhelming majority in the state. Political pundits had started writing Mayawati’s obituary even before the elections in the wake of the show of extravagance and corruption allegations on her. In 2007, the Brahmin-Dalit rainbow coalition formed by Mayawati was seen as an unattainable feat achieved by Mayawati, owing to the existing fault-lines between the two sections. But instead of providing a positive impetus of development and harmony, she indulged in a show of extravagance by installing the statues of elephants (BSP’s election symbol), Kashiram (founder of BSP), and even herself which estranged the voters away from her. She was accused of amassing a huge amount of wealth by the opposition parties during her stint as the CM. After the defeat in 2012 at the hands of the Samajwadi party, her downfall continued in 2014 Lok Sabha elections where her party could not even win a single Lok Sabha seat thanks to the Modi magic across the Hindi-belt states. The ignominious defeat in the 2017 elections was the final nail in the coffin, where her party only won 19 seats out of 403 seats in the assembly.
She was also accused of amassing a huge amount of wealth by the opposition parties during her stint as the CM. After the defeat in 2012 at the hands of the Samajwadi party, her downfall continued in 2014 Lok Sabha elections where her party could not even win a single Lok Sabha seat thanks to the Modi magic across the Hindi-belt states. The ignominious defeat in the 2017 elections was the final nail in the coffin, where her party only won 19 seats out of 403 seats in the assembly.
No more victim card
Mayawati and her brand of politics have failed to change according to the needs of the time and aspirations of the young Dalit voters who do not feel satisfied in only showcasing their status as victims and castigating the Upper caste politics done by other parties. The young voters do not want to play the victim card anymore and have aspirations of jobs and education. Mayawati failed to incorporate these elements in her strategy to retain the Dalit vote bank. The functioning and style of Mayawati are also not in sync with the times we live in where the activity on social media and invariable conversation with the voters are indispensable. Mayawati’s written and passionless speech fell on the deaf ears of the young voters who want someone energetic and active for espousing their cause.
The BJP took advantage of these factors and has been able to get some of the Dalit votes which Mayawati used to flaunt earlier. The vacuum created by these policies of the BSP has also invited young and mobile Dalit leaders like Chandrasekhar of the Bhim Sena.
Nepotism—order of the day?
Having anointed her younger brother Anand Kumar as the Vice President of the party and her nephew Aakash in the party, Mayawati has further damaged the prospects for her party. The Dalit voters, who so far had always stood by her and Kanshiram, who never let nepotism find a place in the party, feel cheated. She also is not in a position anymore to criticize her rivals who promoted dynasty politics including Mulayam Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party and the Congress party who always found themselves on the receiving end.
In the process, she has also sidelined her trusted lieutenants and senior leaders of the party who had helped her find her feet in the male-dominated and upper caste dominated politics of the country. Swami Prasad Maurya had already left the party before the assembly elections and Naseemudin Siddiqui, the Muslim face of the party also has been expelled from the party to make space for the new entrants who have been able to get the Parachute entry into the Powerful positions of the party. Mayawati’s lack of interaction with the grass-root workers of the party has also been one of the reasons for the dampening of the party’s fortune.
Tough battle lies ahead
On the other hand, the induction of Aakash Kumar could also be seen as her decision to bring a young face in the party who could enthuse the cadres and bring fresh energy to the party. Aakash is also said to have completed his MBA from London. But, this is a do-or-die situation for Mayawati where every decision of hers could change the future prospects of the party. Writing the obituary of Mayawati’s political life seems a bit presumptuous. After all, the leader who could form the cocktail of the two extremes—Brahmin and Dalit—should not be taken lightly.
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