'Monumen'tal Loss
Outlook|August 21, 2023
The monuments, statues and parks in Lucknow are a stark reminder of what the Bahujan Samaj Party once stood for
Faisal Fareed
'Monumen'tal Loss

THE other day, watching the song ‘Suno na Sang-eMarmar’ from the 2014 film Youngistaan evoked a lot of memories. The song was shot at memorials constructed during the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) regime in Lucknow. While watching those memorials in the song, I got reminded of all the controversies and narratives that floated around when these memorials were being constructed. The murals and statues still exist, but the BSP, as analysts, opine, has lost its sheen.

Founded in 1984, the BSP was perceived as a symbol of Dalit emancipation, an assertion by the community. The actions of the party, when it assumed power, were also on similar lines. Monuments, statues and parks were constructed in memory of several Dalit icons. But these days, the party, which once boasted of MLAs in several states such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Jammu & Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, and Haryana, is now looking for ways of revival. 

The BSP tasted power in 1993 as part of the coalition government led by Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav. However, the bonhomie did not last for long and Mayawati took oath as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1995. At that time, the BSP had 67 MLAs and a new experiment of rotational CM was introduced with the BJP. Since then, Mayawati has been the chief minister of UP four times. In Lucknow, it was always believed that the BSP is the only party that has a dedicated cadre, disciplined workers and the ability to transfer votes. The party’s fortunes were booming in political circles, but since 2007, the performance of BSP has been declining.

This story is from the August 21, 2023 edition of Outlook.

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This story is from the August 21, 2023 edition of Outlook.

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