Eye on poll pie, BSP may use Mayawati’s birthday bash to brighten prospects

The party, which champions the cause of the Dalits and minorities, has been using Mayawati’s birthday celebrations on January 15 over the years to send across political message to the people, said a BSP leader.
With the 63rd birthday celebrations of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati a fortnight away, party leaders and supporters are set to launch a campaign.(HT File Photo)
With the 63rd birthday celebrations of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati a fortnight away, party leaders and supporters are set to launch a campaign.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Jan 05, 2019 07:26 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times, Lucknow | ByRajesh Kumar Singh

With the 63rd birthday celebrations of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati a fortnight away, party leaders and supporters are set to launch a campaign to project her as the next prime minister and the leader of a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) third front, if such an alliance takes shape.

The party, which champions the cause of the Dalits and minorities, has been using Mayawati’s birthday celebrations on January 15 over the years to send across political message to the people, said a BSP leader who did not wish to be named.

“As the Lok Sabha elections are round the corner, the function is likely to mark the launch of the party’s election campaign and may also raise the curtain on the proposed SP-BSP alliance,” he said, referring to a likely alliance with Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, once a bitter rival of the BSP. Talks on seat sharing in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha elections have been underway since November , he added.

After consecutive defeats in the 2012 and 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, and the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the party leadership will use Mayawati’s birthday celebrations to lift spirits. Riding on an alliance, the BSP also hopes to regain ground in UP and check the BJP’s gains in the state that sends 80 members to the 543-member Lok Sabha.

The Lucknow residence of the BSP chief – 9, Mall Avenue – is being spruced up for the celebrations. BSP supporters have launched a campaign on social media and some party leaders have already put up hoardings to project Mayawati as the next PM.

The political significance of Mayawati’s birthday bash may be gauged from the fact that after she became the chief minister in 2007, a grand celebration was held across the state on January 15, 2009. Lucknow was draped in blue, the colour of the party. A massive stage was set up near the CM’s residence and BSP supporters were brought to Lucknow from all the districts and neighbouring states to ensure their participation in the celebration.

Mayawati had announced the launch of a series of welfare and development schemes for weaker sections, sending the message to her core voters that a Dalit epoch had started in India’s most populous state. Over the years, party members of Parliament and state legislators have been contributing funds to the party. The fund raising drive is termed as ‘arthik sahyog’ (economic cooperation).

The birthday celebrations in 2010 were marred by controversy when a Public Works Department executive engineer, Manoj Gupta, was murdered by BSP MLA from Auraiya, Shekhar Tiwari, allegedly after Gupta refused to donate money.

Opposition parties had launched an offensive, alleging that BSP workers had been coercing people to donate money. BSP hit back by observing Mayawati’s birthday as ‘Virodhi party dhikkar diwas’ (down with rival parties). Another controversy gripped Mayawati after party leaders offered her a huge garland of currency notes at a rally held to mark BSP’s silver jubilee on March 15, 2010.

To defuse the controversy, Mayawati announced that her birthday in 2011 would be celebrated as ‘Jan Kalyankari Diwas’. She launched development schemes worth ~4,000 crore.

After losing power in 2012, the BSP continued to celebrate Mayawati’s birthday as ‘Jankalyankari Diwas’. “Party leaders assist the needy, poor and the handicapped. They also visit Dalit hamlets and hospitals...,” said a second BSP leader on condition of anonymity . This year, Mayawati is likely to release new edition of a travelogue titled ‘A Travelogue of My Struggle-Ridden Life and BSP Movement’ penned by her, and party’s missionary calendar.

“Irrespective of criticism, the BSP chief has been using her birthday to send a subtle political message to her supporters and opponents...,” said Dalit activist and political analyst RK Gautam.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, December 07, 2021