Though the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party have their bases in Uttar Pradesh, they are calling the shots at the Centre.
Providing them fresh ammunition is the proposed constitutional amendment bill allowing a quota in promotions for members of the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, which has the potential to strengthen their vote banks for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
A resurrected SP now has another political handle to consolidate its hold on the Muslim and OBC vote banks, besides the upper caste, which has been feeling abandoned after the collapse of the Congress and later the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.
They will all become victims of the SC/ST quota in promotions, a taste of which state employees had in 2007 when Mayawati had as chief minister tried to push the quota in promotions in state services. Though the Supreme Court had restrained her from implementing the order, she had by then given promotions to hundreds, enabling them to boss over their erstwhile bosses.According to a study by political analysts AK Verma, based on the UP Assembly Election Studies survey data of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, "The BSP lost the 2012 elections in Uttar Pradesh because of its losses in its Dalit vote base."
Badri Narain of the Dalit Resource Centre, Allahabad, said, "It's a double-edged sword for her. She will consolidate
her vote bank at the expense of other castes. But the SP is going to be a major gainer as it emerges as the only party opposing the move tooth and nail. The SP will strengthen its vote bank, besides neutralising the growing resentment against the six-month-old government over its non-performance."
It's a political hot potato the national parties may eventually find hard to hold.
Central governments led by the Congress and the BJP scripted the constitutional amendments (fourth since 1995) to circumvent the equal number of apex court orders. But it is Mayawati who is seen as the one driving the amendment and the SP opposing it.