UP elections: BSP relying on Dalit-Muslim factor to stage Bundelkhand comeback
Senior leaders Gayacharan Dinkar and Naseemuddin Siddiqui enjoy considerable influence in the region and should be able to turn the tide in BSP’s favour in the phase 4 UP elections.assembly elections Updated: Feb 22, 2017 16:23 IST
With statehood promise to parched Bundelkhand, BSP is banking on its two senior leaders — Gayacharan Dinkar and Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who hail from the region — to woo the Dalit-Muslim electorate even as it faces a tough opposition from rebels.
Having roots in Banda, both Siddiqui and legislature party leader Dinkar enjoy considerable influence in the region and have played a pivotal role in strengthening the party at the grass roots level here.
Party chief Mayawati rewarded them with top posts and hopes that they will be able to turn the tide in her favour in the 19 constituencies which go to polls on Thursday in the fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh elections.
Despite failing to reap returns using the Bundelkhand statehood card in 2012 elections, Mayawati is trying the same this time, saying, in rallies at Jhansi, Banda, Hamirpur and Jalaun, that statehood was the panacea for the migration-hit backward region.
“The BSP government had passed a proposal for creation of a separate Bundelkhand state before the 2012 assembly election. The recommendation for formation of the Bundelkhand state was sent to the central government but no action was taken by the previous UPA government and the current NDA government led by BJP,” she said.
Dinkar, who is contesting from Naraini in Banda, also echoed his leader, “A decade of drought, failure of the state government to provide relief to people, neglect of Bundelkhand by the SP government in UP as well as NDA government at the Centre has disillusioned the people and they are willing to support BSP again. The promise of statehood has rekindled their hope in the BSP.”
In 2012, BSP bagged only seven assembly seats, while SP took five, Congress four and BJP three. In 2007, BSP had won 14 seats in the region which played an important role in formation of a majority government in the state after 18 years.
And that is why it is relying on Dalit-Muslim combination to stage a comeback in the region.
However, rebels are trying to upset the BSP applecart. Daddu Prasad, a former minister and close aide of BSP founder Kanshi Ram, has floated Bahujan Mukti Party, fielding candidates in a majority of the seats.
Babu Singh Kushwaha, a former aide of Mayawati, has floated Jan Adhikar Party and urged his community to defeat the BSP. Former BSP zonal coordinator Brij Lal Khabari is contesting on Congress ticket. Senior BSP leader RK Singh Patel, who is popular among the backward castes, joined the BJP before the polls. Rajnarayan Budhauliya, BSP MLA from Mahoba, has also distanced himself from the party activities.
Despite these developments, Dinkar said the rebels have limited influence and will not be able to dent the BSP votebank.
“We will win a majority of the seats as people want change and know that the BSP government (2007-12) had launched several development projects,” he said.
Party general secretary SC Mishra has addressed meetings in the region to woo upper caste voters, particularly Brahmins.
The BSP is also working to regain lost ground in neighbouring Fatehpur district. Mayawati, Mishra, Siddiqui, Dinkar and Indrajit Saroj have addressed meetings here.
In 2012, the party won three out of six seats in Fatehpur, the SP bagged two seats and one seat went to the BJP.