In the last five years, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has come full circle in Delhi politics — from a potential alternative to the Congress to a non-player.
In spite of having a strong cadre and moneybag candidates, the BSP could not create any impact in these elections. Although its 5.33 per cent voteshare is more than double of what it got in the 2004 General Elections, it was just not enough to do any damage to the Congress.
Not only did the BSP’s seven candidates lose their security deposits, the sum of their votes was 50,000 less than what Congress’ Ramesh Kumar secured.
Kanwar Singh Tanwar, general secretary of the party’s state unit and South Delhi candidate, could poll only a little over 88,000 votes. In the Assembly elections, the party had polled over two lakh votes from 10 segments in the South Delhi Lok Sabha area.
“The sudden withdrawal of our Northeast Delhi candidate Dilshad Ali also had an impact in all constituencies. The episode put off urban voters, slowly connecting with the party,” a party insider said on condition of anonymity.
The BSP has been contesting in Delhi since the 1991 elections. But it could make its presence felt for the first time only in the 2007 municipal election when it polled 9.9 per cent votes and managed to win 17 municipal wards.
In the 2008 Assembly elections, the party managed to get 14.5 per cent votes but could win only two seats.
This time, however, neither Mayawati’s persona nor social engineering could do magic.
“Not many see Mayawati as a prime ministerial candidate,” said Sudha Pai, a political analyst.
Pai said the party’s cadre could not relate itself to the multi-millionaire candidates the BSP fielded in Delhi.
She, however, said the BSP may not have done well but it definitely wasn’t the end for the party.