The BSP’s two-decade-long struggle bore fruit when Mayawati first became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1995. The BSP became a force strong enough to be courted by both the Congress and the BJP. But their separate plans clashed and crashed. While the two national parties wanted her as their party’s Dalit face, Mayawati had her own independent plans.
Mayawati knows that her dreams to rule the nation can come true only after she is propelled to a position of power at the Centre. Even a deputy PM’s post will do the needful. Only then can the Dalits from South India start identifying with her. Till then, her plan is to force fractured verdicts in all elections while building the BSP’s organisational network.
Monday’s poll results in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh belied her ambitions. They also reminded her that social revolutions — whether of the ‘swabhiman’ (Dalit dignity) or the ‘sarva samaj’ (social harmony) variety — are always slow. Although the Lok Sabha elections are bound to be different and difficult (especially in the southern states), Mayawati plans to bargain her chips in the post-2009 scenario with either of the two national parties falling short of the magical figure. But would the BJP and the Congress repeat their ‘mistakes’ of UP at the Centre?
The common perception is that LK Advani won’t be averse to ‘reward’ her with deputy prime ministership in the event of the BJP falling short of the majority mark. The Congress would also have taken the same route if it had not decided on a pre-poll understanding with her bête noire Mulayam Singh Yadav. Mayawati is, after all, the front-runner in a state that accounts for 80 Lok Sabha seats.
The BSP remains the ‘third force’ in almost all the northern states that went to polls over the last fortnight. This has been the case also in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh since her 2007 victory in UP. The upward trend in her vote bank, especially in Delhi, sends the required adrenaline to her committed cadres. For them, Lok Sabha 2009 will be a ‘do or die’ battle to see her taking up a prime position at the very centre of political India.