By Haider Abbas
Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) the national ruling party at Center as well as in UP is in total disarray, as there is not a virtual but a real exodus from its MLAs who have joined the anti-incumbent force Samajwadi Party (SP) , more precisely since its Cabinet Minister Swami Prasad Maurya deserted it. BJP two Cabinet Ministers and 14 MLAs have made a route to SP which is led by Akhilesh Yadav. The big issue today is, that when BJP will not be able to make it to the magic figure of 203/403 seats in UP, then what would BJP rely upon? The answer which anyone can very easily speculate is on the crutches of BSP! As has already happened in the past, that too for thrice, as BJP-BSP have come together to form the governments and no one in UP can afford to shudder on it.
There had been a long exodus of Muslims from BSP, as BSP despite being once referred as the so-called ideological party, which it is not, as even when its founder Kanshi Ram was alive, BSP made its coalitions with the party (BJP) which it claimed to hate as number one. There is now a long history, which also deserves to be recalled as to how BSP has aligned and saved BJP on crucial moments, when what it was then a moment of history! BSP clearly deserted its ideological pantheon, which had been resurrected by the likes of EVR Periyar, Jyotirao Phule, Chattrapati Shahu ji Maharaj, BR Ambedkar etc and associated with BJP, which considered Dalits ( Shudras)-the lowest section of Brahminical Social Order and Muslims with equal disdain. Dalits have been the main-stake of BSP voting pattern.
It sent everyone is a tizzy, that BSP which allied with Tilak Tarazu aur Talwar/ Inko Maaro Joote Char ( Let the Upper Castes/Given a shoe beating) could catapult into shaking-hands with a party which has always stood by the people associated with centuries on non-human atrocities on Dalits etc. There are thousands of incidences/writings/films available as to how the Upper Caste Hindus have treated Dalits and Shudras as sub-humans and worst than animals. The structured racism and apartheid has been a norm in India since millenniums.
Why would therefore BSP then align with BJP or vice-versa? The answer lies into the ideological legitimacy provided by BJP parent organization-the RSS, that since Muslims broke down Buddha idols, the icon of BSP, hence, BSP and BJP are natural friends. It is another matter that since the 2014 general elections as well as in 2017 UP assembly elections, the Dalits, legally called as Scheduled Castes etc, the bedrock of BSP base, have shifted their preference for BJP in ‘lieu of power’, and also in its way, ascribed to Hindutva (anti-Muslim) politics. Nonetheless, no one wants to discuss as to how Upper Caste Hindus killed millions of Buddhists and banished Buddhism into the high mountains across Afghanistan.
The object of discussion, which needs an emphasis threadbare, is the love-lorn relationship of BSP and BJP. It was Mayawati who adorned the Chief Minister(CM) crown in 1995 and in 1997 and later in 2002 with the help of BJP. It was in her third term, when the Gujarat riots had taken place under Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, that Mayawati went on to campaign for BJP in Gujarat. In the same tenure she did not issue a fresh notification against LK Advani, who had been exonerated from the conspiracy charge in the demolition case of Babri Masjid by the CBI Court in Lucknow. Muslims fought ‘tooth-and-nail’ and were able to get LK Advani charged again, and now after almost two decades LK Advani etc all sit pretty, with no-where in-sight to ever to be brought to justice. Mayawati played her deputized role. She saved LK Advani.
It may also be remembered that in the same tenure she organized a rally in Lucknow in which LK Advani was present, an unconceivable preposition then, and her ‘the-then’ Muslim lieutenant Naseem-ud-din Siddiqui, had put-up for LK Advani Zindabad decibels. When Congress party tried to bring a no-confidence motion against BJP in August 2003, BSP proved to be a succor and voted in favour of Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, thus giving BJP, the much needed breather. If that had happened Narendra Modi too was to have been brought down as CM and India might not have witnessed the rise of BJP (2014-24) despite the Congress years (2004-14) at the Center.
In her fourth stint to power (2007-12) she refused to order CBI inquiry into the blasts of 24 August 2008, in Kanpur, UP, which had killed two Bajrang Dal activists who were assembling a bomb! It would need a whole new chapter as to how BSP ditched its own cadres, its core ideological values for power-politics, which in fact ultimately, led to the resuscitation of only the Brahmin oriented parties, and no wonder made BJP and its allies, have a past 300 figure in UP assembly in 2017. People found BSP bankrupt and the anti-incumbency against SP (2012-17) led to BJP government in 2017.
Making room for Brahmins inside BSP as ‘alliance partners’ is joke of its own kind. Why would Brahmins ever vote for BSP, who have held the reins of uninterrupted power since 1947, as it was the once Congress, overloaded by Brahmins, that had always allocated attendant’s benefits to Dalits/Shudras and got their votes in exchange, and from Muslims, of course out-of-fear from the then Bhartiya Jana Sangh, the earlier avatar of BJP. There had never been any developmental agenda for Muslims from Congress/BJP except for riots! The only overwhelming exception has been SP which had pitched for 20% development schemes towards Muslims too.
The post-Mandal (1990) India brought a new awakening inside the Dalits and the socialists forces too, and led to the birth of the likes of Kanshi Ram, who prided himself as a Dalit Chanakya, but now with Brahmins inside BSP, the worst bête noirs of Dalits, have a ready-made choice, that they would vote for BSP candidate as long as it is a Brahmin, if not, then damn be it. Mayawati has long lost the dream of Kandhi Ram, she was of course sometime vocal when Rohith Vemula had committed suicide (2016), but remained tight-lipped throughout when Muslims, men and women, were on the streets protesting CAA/NRC/NPR which found 22 Muslims shot dead in UP. She appealed her party members not to hit-the-streets against CAA/NRC/NPR. SP made Rs 5 lakhs each to reach to the next of the kith and kin who lost to the bullets of BJP CM Ajay Singh Bisht.
As the election bugle has been blown in UP, the BSP policy and strategy is very simple, despite the allegations of extracting crores in exchange of a BSP ticket, that is to make a Muslim candidate contest against a winnable Muslim candidate of SP, this would make BSP candidate get some votes which only would eat into the votes of SP, and thereby making it possible for BJP to win by a thin margin. It will be a repeat of 2017 strategy. The other option is also to field maximum Muslim candidates, from the around 135/403 seats where Muslims exercise influence, against a winnable Hindu/Muslim candidate of SP, and blow the trumpet of ‘being-Muslim-friendly’, to make further as easier task for BJP again. Muslim prospective candidates (Imran Masood et all) should not take the call for myopia and leave BSP come what may.
It is very high time to call for the BSP bluff, as time and again, it has been proven, that BSP is a yet another name of BJP, by standards all and sundry. But, perhaps, one cannot be fooled all the times, as this time, SP is what seems to be a clear winner, well ahead towards the complete victory , owing to BJP nemesis, as Rajbhars, Nishads, Patels, Kurmis, Koris, Mauryas etc along with the aggrieved Brahmins have started to desert BJP. UP should never let BSP workout for BJP. What will happen will come out on March 10, 2022.
The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner and a political analyst.