Fight to the finish
THE WEEK|October 03, 2021
With elections on the horizon, Mayawati is hoping for a strong comeback
PUJA AWASTHI

THE 2022 ASSEMBLY elections in Uttar Pradesh, among other things, will be a mandate on the future of the Bahujan Samaj Party and the political life of its president— Mayawati. The BSP, for now, has announced that it will be going it alone. This is not new in the BSP universe. The party’s only pre-poll alliances for the state elections were in 1991—with the Samajwadi Party (SP), and, in 1996, a trifold alliance with the Congress.

“There is a constant effort to create confusion among its voters that the BSP has been in alliances with other parties. Post poll alliances are different and they do not mean that the party is aligned with any other political outfit. It is only aligned with its community,” said Vivek Kumar, professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University. This bind with the community is illustrated by the BSP’s electoral performance. Even in its poor showing in the 2017 polls, the BSP had over 22 per cent of the state’s vote share, though this translated into just 19 seats. Since 2017, the party’s size in the assembly has shrunk by expulsions and desertions, thus rendering it irrelevant.

Ajay Kumar, assistant professor at the department of sociology at the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University in Lucknow, said the BSP’s vote share has not seen wild drops. In 1993, the party had 11.12 per cent of the vote share and won 67 seats. This share steadily rose till 2007 when the party cornered 30.43 per cent vote share and won 206 seats. In the succeeding elections in 2012 and 2017 the BSP had 25.95 per cent and 22.24 per cent vote share, but its seat share fell from 80 to 19.

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