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Mayawati’s political stocks up before elections in Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh

Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati is in demand for the assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh as she has the skills to translate her support into votes.

india Updated: May 27, 2018 10:02 IST
Sunita Aron
Sunita Aron
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Mayawati,Samajwadi Party,Karnataka elections
BSP supremo Mayawati in Lucknow.(PTI File Photo)

Mayawati’s political fortunes, which nosedived after a string of defeats between 2012 and 2017, look to be on the upswing now. For one, her support paved the way for the Samajwadi Party’s unexpected victory in the UP by-polls. Then, came the Karnataka feat, in which she was a small player.

And now Mayawati is in demand for the assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh by the year-end as she has the skills to translate her support into votes even she is choosy about her poll partners.

Although a hard negotiator, she may not follow a uniform pattern while sealing alliances. Her first choice will be a regional force and then the Congress. She allied with JD (S) in Karnataka, but hugged Sonia Gandhi at the oath-taking ceremony. And there was a reason.

Three of the four states going to the polls in the year-end are bipolar with no third force to reckon with.

Mayawati may ally with the Congress to defeat the BJP as she has bigger plans for 2019. Her party has already raised the demand to make her PM to give India its first Dalit Prime Minister.

However, in a strategic move, Mayawati on Saturday declared that her party was open to alliance if it was given respectable seats in the pre-election pact. “…otherwise, the BSP will contest the election on its own strength.”

Satish Kumar, an activist from Rajasthan, is hopeful of an alliance between the two parties in the desert state where their votes don’t have a premium value in the absence of Dalit leadership.

“The Dalit movement remained in a limbo in the desert state as BR Ambedkar did not go beyond Agra, often called the Bhim Nagari, close to Rajasthan. He never visited our state. The BSP picked up eight seats in 2008 polls. They all defected to Congress to make Ashok Gehlot’s government, which had a wafer thin majority, comfortable in the assembly.”Similarly, Mayawati, can help the Congress turn the tables on the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, where the BSP has an influence on 55 seats.

In all the three states, the Congress faces a tough challenge from the BJP.

What will be her gain? She will claim to be the kingmaker in two more states. A former senior leader of her party quips, “She will be the kingmaker before batting for the queen’s position at the Centre after the 2019 polls.”

And, for this, she needs friends across the country, which explains Mayawati turning over a new leaf, from being a recluse to becoming amiable.

The BSP has already decided to go with Om Prakash Chautala’s Lok Dal in Haryana, while it may ally only with the SP in UP as the Congress continues to be in a moribund state in the most crucial state.

Why? A founding leader of the party, who was later shown the door by BSP’s firebrand leader, explains, “Why would she revive the Congress in states like UP, where she can prop up a regional force? After all, there is no love lost between the BSP and the Congress?”

Political expert Dr Badri Narayan says, “The BSP took away Dalit support of the Congress. Its revival would mean their return to their first love.”

“Seat sharing will prove to be a herculean task among four parties – the SP, the BSP, the Congress and the RLD. Our prime concern is checkmating BJP, rather than sacrificing seats. As of now, the Congress doesn’t appear to be gaining ground while RLD’s fate will be known after the Kairana polls,” said a senior SP leader. Thus Mayawati is on the move, picking up poll partners in states heading for elections and she will have different strategies for different states.

First Published: May 27, 2018 09:51 IST