LUCKNOW: It’s lonely at the BSP’s top for its chief Mayawati. Beleaguered by consecutive drubbings at elections and relentless desertions of old lieutenants, her ploy to create a buzz by quitting the Rajya Sabha hardly made any impact. Then came the departure of one of the most loyal members of the party, Indrajeet Saroj, who quit levelling the same old charge against his leader—seeking money from the cadre. “She has failed to carry on with the legacy of Kanshi Ram. She has wronged him,” said Indrajeet Saroj after parting ways.
Now out of Parliament and with a negligible presence in Vidhan Sabha, the road ahead for the Dalit leader, who has been UP CM four times in the past, looks bleak.
Will she contest one of the two Lok Sabha bypolls—Gorakhpur and Phulpur—later this year to keep the party afloat and post a psychological personal triumph? Or accept RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s offer to contest the Rajya Sabha poll from Bihar and be an MP for the next six years? These are the questions flying around in the political circles of Uttar Pradesh.
These steps would get her temporary respite, and the most important task for her is to strengthen her depilated rank. Saroj’s departure is a big blow for her. He was a prominent Pasi leader from Phulpur, and his importance could be gauged from the fact that he has been a key minister in the previous three Mayawati Cabinets. In his absence, winning Phulpur may not be easy for the BSP chief. Similarly, the defection by MLC Thakur Jaiveer Singh is bound to impact the Rajput support base of the party.
BSP’s Naseemuddin Siddiqui’s exit had annoyed the Muslim vote bank. The caste and community dynamics, on which Mayawati has been riding to power all this long, don’t seem to be on her side any more.
“People are dejected with BSP. The charge of demanding money levelled by almost all the defectors on Mayawati has lowered her stature. Workers are resisting any move to run fund-raising drives,” said a senior BSP leader seeking anonymity. He added that even for Jatavs, a community Mayawati comes from, she is no longer a messiah.
With zero representation in Lok Sabha and after her resignation from Rajya Sabha, the blue brigade has only five MPs in the Upper House.
At present, she has very few faces with her—S C Mishra and brother Anand Kumar. Anand’s alleged indulgence in corruption and the threat of CBI, vigilance and ED hanging over him have left the party chief jittery.
“Her brother is neck deep in corruption. Probe is on. People are not unaware of all these developments. Desertions are precipitating the situation against Mayawati,” said S R Darapuri, former IPS officer and a Dalit activist.
If she decides to take on the mighty BJP as an opposition candidate supported by Congress, RJD and SP and manages to sail through in the Lok Sabha bypolls, it will resurrect her political fortune and will be a giant step in uniting the fragmented opposition under her, especially when Nitish Kumar is back in the NDA fold.