Today, a Brahmin leader left
the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) boat. It is continuing the flurry of exits the
principal opposition party of Uttar Pradesh is witnessing.
But contrary to the 'first
response' reflex, the BSP boat is not sinking. It is, in fact, projected to
sail through the waves of the upcoming UP assembly polls easily to reach the
power corridors of Lucknow, the UP capital city.
The fact is, the leaders who have
left the BJP in recent days, mostly OBCs and Forwards, all have found their
personal cruises coming to a halt in the party that was formed with sole aim of
taking on OBC and forward communities but the electoral compulsions later on
forced it to become from anti-Manuwadi to Brahmin's newfound voice - the
so-called Brahmin-Dalit social engineering that sent Mayawati zooming to UP
chief minister's office.
But Mayawati's social
engineering of a Brahmin-Dalit didn't work in 2012 assembly polls. On the flip
side, it in fact, alienated many Dalit voters who voted for the Samajwadi Party
(SP), the main contender of the OBC votes in UP who constitute some 45-50
percent of the state's population.
The SP, with a novelty factor
of projecting a young and clean chief-ministerial face, Akhilesh Yadav, smashed
the electoral scene and won the UP assembly polls with Muslim support who had
always seen in SP a natural ally with Mayawati's experimental bent towards the
Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
This time around, Mayawati is
trying a different sort of social engineering - trying to front a Dalit-Muslim
combine and encashing it with votes when the state goes to the polls next year.
Dalits (or SCs) are 20
percent of UP's population while Muslims 18.5 percent. The BSP had got 30
percent votes in the 2007 assembly polls and won 206 seats. In 2012, the SP got
224 votes with a vote share of 29 percent. That means Mayawati has a window of 10
percent to work on here equations - as it is clear that not all of this is
electoral population and not all of electoral population would vote for the
So, a combine 38.5 percent
makes sense to go for. And the timing seems opportune. Muslims are miffed with
the SP after a number of riots including the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 and
Dadri lynching incident of 2015 where a Muslim was killed for allegedly
consuming and storing beef.
What Mayawati needs is a
strong polarization of the Dalit-Muslim combine in her favour and split in
votes of other parties. And that seems most plausible at the moment. Forward
castes may face a dilemma this time with Congress' Brahmin card by announcing
Sheila Dikshit as the CM face. Their condition becomes more precarious as the
BJP, the party they were basing their hopes on in the recent times, chose to
send a message that the party was going to adopt OBC politics when it appointed
an OBC state president (Keshav Maurya) replacing a Brahmin (Laxmikant Bajpai).
OBC voters may face the
dilemma because of the BJP's projections of its tilt to the OBC politics -
exploiting the sentiments on its state party president and Narendra Modi's OBC