MYSURU: The Bahujan Samaj Party’s dismal show in Uttar Pradesh has come as a rude shock to the party leaders in Karnataka, raising questions over its prospects in the state.
The Dalits in the state, particularly those associated with the Bahujan movement for the past 20 years feel let down after the party’s worst-ever drubbing in UP.
The BSP had managed to win the lone Kollegal seat in the 2018 elections with a 3.72 per cent vote share. Perhaps, seeing the writing on the wall the lone MLA N Mahesh switched sides to BJP.
The Old Mysuru region has a history of the Dalit movement after the erstwhile Wadiyars introduced reservation based on the Miller’s Commission recommendations.
The BSP had even wooed veteran leaders like PG R Scindia and former minister D T Jayakumar to contest on the party ticket.
However, many frontline leaders including Gopal, Shankar and C S Dwarkanath deserted the party over the years to join the Congress and other parties.
Party insiders say that many may now look to shift loyalties unless the party can rejuvenate itself and groom the next line of leaders.
The BJP, which is keen to woo the most backwards castes, sees an opportunity to expand its base by levering on the disillusionment among BSP workers.
Senior BSP leader Mohan Kumar explained that the Dalit population is not evenly spread in Karnataka.
“We will meet soon, introspect and redraw our strategies to ensure BSP’s victory in the pockets where we are strong,” he added.