Power games | BJP faces dilemma over BSP after UP defeat

A large chunk of Dalit voters shifted from Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party to the SP-Congress combine.
Power games | BJP faces dilemma over BSP after UP defeat

Heartland Trouble

BJP faces dilemma over BSP after UP defeat

There is a near consensus among BJP leaders that one of the main reasons for their party’s big defeat in Uttar Pradesh was the shift in Dalit and backward votes to the Samajwadi Party-Congress combine. The two opposition parties had launched a relentless campaign that the BJP plans to change the Constitution and end reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs after winning the 2024 Lok Sabha election. In spite of repeated denial and debunking of this campaign by BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the issue had a considerable impact on the Dalit and OBC voters. A large chunk of Dalit voters shifted from Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party to the SP-Congress combine.

A sizable number of OBCs, who had been backing the BJP, also shifted to the opposition combine. This led to a steep fall in the BJP’s tally in Uttar Pradesh, leading to a loss of majority for the party in the Lok Sabha. A section of the BJP is of the opinion that a strong Mayawati could have made the UP contest three-cornered, which would have helped the ruling party bag a much larger share of seats from the state. But her perceived proximity to the BJP led to a consolidation of minority, Dalit and backward votes in favour of the SP-Congress alliance.

What turned the tide decisively against Mayawati was her decision to remove Akash Anand as her successor right in the middle of the election campaign during which he had pulled out all the stops in attacking the BJP. The opposition wasted no time in accusing Mayawati of taking the action at the BJP’s behest. Sources said that a large section of the BJP now wants a more active and attacking BSP which could win back its SC and Muslim votes from the SP-Congress to the benefit of the ruling party. The political dynamics in UP is set to undergo a major change.

Fraternal Fight

BJP reaches out to RSS after ‘not needed’ barb

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to the RSS leadership for consultation before the formation of the new government. Relations between the two fraternal organisations had reportedly got strained during the elections with reports that the RSS cadres were not very active in the field. There were also reports that the RSS had not rescheduled its Prashikshan Shivir (training camp) for its cadres, which coincided with the Lok Sabha election campaign.

The divide between the two organsations increased with BJP president J P Nadda announcing that his party had grown strong and no longer needed the support of RSS in elections. The BJP president’s statement did not go down well with the RSS. The Prime Minister, however, decided to ignore the election-time bitterness and sent the party president, home minister Amit Shah and defence minister Rajnath Singh for consultations with the Sangh before the formation of the new council of ministers.

The BJP team met RSS leaders Dattatreya Hosbole, Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi and Arun Singh at the organisation’s headquarters. The Sangh has reportedly not given any opinion on the council of ministers. It, however, wants to be consulted in the appointment of the new BJP president, when the extension given to the present one ends on June 30 this year.

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