Friday, July 21, 2017

Is this end of the road for MAYAWATI ?

By Dilip Awasthi

By resigning her Rajya Sabha seat in a dramatic huff, Daulat Queen Mayawati could well have driven the final nail in BSP's coffin. Though only nine months remained in her term with no chances of her reelection, a politician always wants to make each day count, especially after an electoral holocaust.

Resignations often reveal the acceptance of failure from within. Mayawati anyway was never known to be a crafty, stubborn or calculating politician like so many of her contemporaries. She was thriving for more than two decades on the legacy which Kanshi Ram took decades to build or on circumstances. Each term at the Chief Minister's office only added to her megalomania which bordered dictatorship.

In 2007 Mayawati, rose to power on her own mainly because of the utter failure of Mulayam Singh Raj of 2002. Add to it circumstances in which upper castes mainly Brahmins felt alienated and had nowhere to go. Pushed to the wall, the upper castes led by Brahmins backed the BSP and a Dalit-UpperCates-Muslim combine gave Mayawati an unbelievable majority.

But her five-year rule proved a huge let down for all those who brought her to power. Forget the Dalit, Upper Castes or Muslims supporters, who initially did bask in her reflected glory, even her senior ministers would need to take prior appointments to meet her. Industrialists withdrew from Uttar Pradesh and all development work came to a standstill. There were no interactions, no interviews with the media. Like any autocrat, she was scared for her life that her house and office were turned into a fortress. In fact, she rarely attended her office in the secretariat.She stopped touring the state and also avoided making public appearances. 

Probably the only visible achievement of her regime was the huge Roman structures all over Lucknow and some other select towns. Though beautiful and imposing to look at, these structures even today have no practical use. A good Rs 50,000 crores were spent on these unproductive monuments and huge kickbacks were pocketed in the process. Dalits did admire these grand structures initially as they attended BSP's rallies in Lucknow but they soon realised that stones don't have a heart. The buildings may massage their ego but cannot give them food and jobs.  

Corruption and nepotism ruled the roost in her five-year suffocating rule. As a result, even a disgraced Samajwadi Party, this time under the leadership of Akhilesh Yadav reaped a rich harvest in 2012. Despite predictions that Mayawati would return yet again, BSP was reduced to just 80 seats in 2012 from 206 seats. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections it could not even get a single seat.

Now came the annihilation of 2017 assembly elections. The party was plagued with the exodus of senior party leaders, a process which continued even much after the election results came in. Mayawati this time attempted to play the Muslim card as she curtailed fielding Upper Caste candidates. The BSP won merely 19 seats with 22.2% vote share. It faced a loss of 61 seats over 2012. The party came to a full circle as this became its lowest score since 1991, its budding stage, when it won 12 seats.

 Reviving the BSP from here would once again need a Kanshi Ram. It is simply beyond an autocrat like Mayawati who treats everybody around her as scum. Even the part of Dalits - the chamars and Jatavs, who used to swear by her, have deserted. The Muslims have clearly signalled that they do not consider BSP as an alternative to BJP. Of the 100 Muslim candidates fielded by BSP, only two could win. Upper Castes have lost whatever little faith they had in Mayawati. The ride from here on seems going nowhere.

With most of the BSP stalwarts like RK Chowdhry, Swami Prasad Maurya, Naseemuddin Siddiqui gone, Mayawati sits all alone to preside over the end of Kanshi Ram's cherished dream - the BSP.

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