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Mayawati’s Rajya Sabha resignation: ‘Masterstroke to tighten grip on her Dalit votebank’

lucknow Updated: Jul 19, 2017 16:50 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Mayawati,BSP,Rajya sabha

The Samajwadi Party and Congress have also rallied behind Mayawati. (Sushil Kumar/HT PHOTO)

For the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leaders, Mayawati’s decision to resign from Rajya Sabha is a political masterstroke.

“She resigned as her attempt to raise the issue of atrocities inflicted on Dalits by the BJP government in Saharanpur and other regions of the state was being curbed. Her sacrifice will go a long way in mobilising the community across the state,” said BSP state president, Ramachal Rajbhar.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) and Congress have also rallied behind Mayawati.

“She has taken a right decision. The voice of the opposition was being suppressed and her resignation will unite the anti-NDA parties,” said SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary

Leader of Congress legislature party Ajay Kumar Lallu too supported Mayawati.

“In a democracy, the voice of the people’s representative cannot be suppressed,” he said.

While her next move hasn’t been announced yet, there are talks in the political circle that she might contest Lok Sabha by-polls from Phulpur, the seat set to be vacated by the deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya. As per the buzz, she could be the joint opposition candidate.

While BSP founder Kanshi Ram had unsuccessfully contested from here in 1996, the seat was represented by its MP Kapil Muni Karwariya in Lok Sabha from 2009 to 2014.

Earlier in the day, in an emotional message to party cadre, Mayawati said, “She has no moral right to be the member of the Upper House as she cannot raise the issues and protect the rights of the Dalit community.”

“Mayawati will not gain sympathy or benefit politically with her resignation tactics. Rather she has lost a platform from which she used to corner the BJP government at centre as well as in the state on various issues,” said SK Dewedi, former head, political science department, Lucknow University.

“Since Mayawati does not interact with voters directly, her speeches in Rajya Sabha and press conferences were the only two ways to send message to her constituencies,” he added.

After humiliating defeat in the 2017 assembly elections, Mayawati had re-organised the organisation. She was also working on the strategy to regain the lost ground and had visited Saharanpur soon after the conflict between upper caste Thakur and Dalits was reported from its Shabbirpur village.

“Three consecutive defeats — in 2012 assembly elections, 2014 Lok Sabha elections and 2017 assembly elections — have put Mayawati in dilemma of either joining the Congress-led grand alliance or take on the might of the BJP single-handedly,” Dewedi said.

Mayawati’s term in Rajya Sabha expires April next year and with 19 MLAs the party is not in a position to send her to Upper House again without the support of arch rival SP and Congress. Though some of the senior BSP leaders are in support of joining the grand alliance, Mayawati is hardly excited over the proposal.

She has always maintained that the BSP did not gain from alliances with SP in 1993 and Congress in 1996. “Instead, the alliance partner expanded their base at the cost of the BSP,” she said.

Amid talks of joining grand alliance, she also started selection of candidates for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Read more: Lalu supports Mayawati’s resignation, offers her Rajya Sabha seat from Bihar

A senior BSP leader said after poll debacle she had been advised to visit rural areas and hold direct communication with the people.

While she has been monitoring the party activities from her office in Lucknow and Delhi since then, after resigning from Rajya Sabha she might hold meetings across the state and mobilise the party cadre to take on the BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha election, he said.

Senior BJP leader Vijay Bahadur Pathak said, “Mayawati is trying to score political mileage with her resignation. Her strategy will fail to pay political dividend as people know that law and order is a state issue.”

First Published: Jul 19, 2017 16:50 IST