UP Polls: The Enigma Called Mayawati
Daijiworld Media Network - Lucknow
Lucknow, Jan 22: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and its supremo Mayawati - their names themselves are a puzzle for analysts, psephologists, election experts, political experts and even the common man. Every election, the general feeling is that BSP will be wiped out but it again bounces back defying even the law of averages.
In short, no debate inside the TV studio, no study and research by any expert in the country can guess the future and predict its next step.
BSP is again in the same position. Since its inception in 1984, the party founded by Kanshiram has been giving sleepless nights to the opponents.
After tasting success in elections, Kanshiram took the decision to align with Mulayam Singh led Samajwadi Party (SP) in 1993. It got good success and won over 60 MLAs and was part of Mulayam led government. However, within a few months time, Mayawati broke the alliance and for the first time formed the government in UP with Bhartiya Janta Party's (BJP) support.
Since then there has been no looking back for the BSP. Assuming the power for the fourth time in the state in May 2007 with absolute majority she pursued her agenda more vigourously.
Always in news for other reasons - sometimes her pink suits make headlines, her diamond studded ear rings also sparkle on TV, her birthday bashes are covered extensively, her open instructions for yearly donations by party leaders - nothing deterred Mayawati.
The facade of Lucknow has been changed in this tenure. There are numerous parks and memorials now in Lucknow which can even give Mughal architecture a run for its money.
There are statues of her election symbol elephants, Kanshiram, dalit icons and even herself.
Recently when Election Commission ordered covering up the statues, the district administration had a herculean task of covering nealy 11 statues of Mayawati and over 400 statues of the elephant.
So the point is, why with this blatant display of power and money, when BSP is still going strong. Since its formation in 1984, it was like a movement with Kanshiram toiling hard and his candidates including Kanshiram losing elections. But the dalits or scheduled castes were awakened. Slowly they consolidated and came behind BSP.
The party has been built on a cadre structure. It has a Bahujan Volunteer Force and a set structure. Co-ordinators, zonal heads and similar heirarchy upto booth level. A register is maintained and they are issued instructions.
Mayawati has rightly remarked that BSP remains in poll mode every day. Kanshiram successfully got it right when he said that UP was his political laboratory. Though he hailed from Punjab, he changed the political scenario in the Hindi heartland.
She may be considered an outcast in politics by some but she is the only leader in the country who has the courage to shun media from her functions. Hardly any solo interview of hers is available. During her press conferences, she reads from written statement and leaves, no questions asked. Still, every media worth its name can give anything to get one exclusive shot. She has rightly said 'my voter does not read newspaper, does not watch TV so I don't need all these things'.
Her command over the party can be gauged from the fact that with 26 ministers axed, no one dared to question her action. Anyone indulging in any sort of anti-party (read:Mayawati) activity is shown the door and there is no repurcussion.
She paints the town blue on her functions and officials keep on shivering till the function is over. Such is the audacity that the whole road to airport is washed to clear dust when her cavalcade with nearly 100 black cat commandoes leaves. Now she has a helipad constructed near her residence so that she can fly to airport within the
Her schemes are well planned and implemented so that maximum benefit goes to her dalit electorate.
Now coming back to 2012 elections - lots has been written about scams, corruption and alleged tyrannical rule of BSP and Mayawati. But ask any expert if the BSP is going to lose badly - 'no' will be the answer, implying that Mayawati still rules and still counts.
Every big leader, be it Congress yuvraj Rahul Gandhi, Samajwadi Party's Mulayam Singh Yadav or his son Akhilesh Yadav, BJP's Uma Bharti or other leaders, all are baying for Mayawati's blood even as she took her time and released the list of 403 candidates at one go on January 15, her birthday. No questions asked, she had changed the candidates, sacked ministers, only a list was given - go and interpret it at your newspaper office.
In 2007, much was said about the social engineering where she struck an alliance with upper caste Brahmins. These upper caste never figured in her agenda but she gave them prominence and made them partner. The result - she won by absolute majority. It is not that only Brahmins had voted for BSP, the upper caste Brahmin community has a tendency to shout from roof top about their support to the ruler of the time. It was nothing new this time and they began follwing Mayawati. Normally, they cannot digest that they had to line up for touching the feet of a lower caste Mayawati, but power and greed made them dance to her tune. She very well understood it and made them sing paens to her. This time in 2012, she again gave over 60 tickets to the upper caste. The logic simple - take my dalit vote and get your community vote and become an MLA.
She also had vigourously wooed Muslims giving them 84 tickets. The community also followed her as more Muslim MLAs are with BSP than with SP.
So she is follwing this mantra again for success.
The more people cry foul over her vote bank regoups, the more is said about her memorials and dream parks, the more her vote bank stands behind her like a wall.
The caste based politics of Hindi heartland UP is a good playground for her.
Her adevrsaries are all worried about their eroding vote bank but BSP is sitting pretty. Her vote bank is intact and is again ready for another surprise.
Countdown to UP Polls: