Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati’s announcement to fight the upcoming Punjab assembly polls next year without forming any alliance has resulted in resentment amongst party leaders and many of these leaders have started looking at “alternatives” for the polls.
The first shock for the party has come in form of resignation of its state general secretary from Phagwara, Jarnail Nangal, who on Saturday decided to quit the party, accusing that “the BSP in Punjab is playing in the hands of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and is functioning as the ‘B’ team of Akalis.”
Nangal, a firebrand leader of BSP, had received more than 26,000 votes during the 2012 assembly polls when he fought on BSP ticket from Phagwara constituency.
The upset leaders are dismayed with the party’s move to fight assembly elections without any alliance which has always helped the ruling SAD as the BSP cuts Dalit votes heavily, which generally go in the kitty of the Congress.
Various confirmed reports from the party have disclosed that a large section of senior leaders of the party, especially from Doaba, is set to say “good bye” and may join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) or the Congress.
When HT talked to few of these leaders who contested previous assembly polls on BSP ticket and received large number of votes, they alleged that the present top leadership of the party was working to ensure SAD’s re-election in the coming assembly polls.
“Even a person who doesn’t know politics can understand that BSP’s announcement to fight polls alone would only favour SAD. The fact that has remained the same is that the party doesn’t want any MLA from Punjab and wants to play as the second fiddle to the ruling SAD. The top leadership is just using us while they have a hidden pact with Akalis. But we have had enough now,” said a senior BSP functionary who received more than 25,000 votes in the previous polls and is also mulling the option of leaving the party.
“We have not won a single seat in last three assembly polls. Our vote bank is coming down with successive polls. There is not an iota of chance that the BSP will win many seats in the upcoming polls. Still, the party wants us to contest alone. What type of strategy is this?” rued another leader from Nawanshahr district.
Nangal also alleged that the BSP cadre at grass-roots level was aware of the hidden pact with SAD and the party’s supporters were not going to vote for it in the coming polls as Dalit votes were being misused and taken for granted by the party.
“Both party affairs in-charge Narender Kashyap and state party chief Avtar Karimpuri have virtually sold the party to SAD leaders and are enjoying VIP status from the state government,” said Nangal.
Karimpuri, when contacted, said the party was united as one group for fighting the assembly polls.
“People join as well as quit parties. I won’t comment on what Nangal has said. The BSP will surely make history in these polls and the party will emerge as a key factor in post-poll government formation,” said Karimpuri.