Do or Die For Mayawati

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The battle for UP has boiled down to how well or how badly Mayawati will do. If she does well, the BJP may just find the window they need to give the SP-Congress Alliance a run for their money. But should she fail, then the SP-Congress will race away to register a very facile win. Ground reports from UP suggest Phase 1 witnessed a neck-to-neck battle between BSP and SP-Congress Alliance, with the  BSP believed to having a slight edge. In contrast, ground reports indicate that in Phase 2 BSP slipped down to third place. While Mayawati is going all out, she is finding immense difficulty in enlarging her social coalition which in turn threatens her vice like grip over her core constituency - Dalits. Provided below are extracts from an article in the Millennium Post penned by renowned political analyst Amulya Ganguli who argues the stakes for Mayawati is her political career itself!

The BSP leader Mayawati's stakes in the UP Assembly elections are higher than those of any other contender. A second successive defeat after having drawn a blank in the Parliamentary polls will mean that she will find the task of holding her party together all the more difficult. She may be able to retain her core support base of Jatav/Chamar voters who constitute half of the state's total Dalit population of 21.1 per cent. But the Dalit sub-castes like Pasi, Dhobi, Kori, Balmiki, and others may begin to drift away towards parties with better prospects. Not surprisingly, Mayawati has formed "bhaichara" or friendship committees to woo these groups.

It may be recalled that in 2014, one out of every four Dalits voted for the BJP. The ratio was even higher for the BJP-led NDA, which was supported by one out of every three Dalits. Evidently, Narendra Modi's assurances of a better future persuaded a large number of Dalits to flock to his banner. As a result, the BSP's vote share at the national level fell from 6.2 per cent in 2009 to 4.1 in 2014. The party's poor performance in UP was primarily responsible for this decline in its voting percentage in the state, where the BSP is said to have considerable influence, dropped from 27.4 per cent in 2009 to 19.6 in 2014.

But, now, it is a do or die battle for her. Since the upper castes are unlikely to repose their faith in her again, switching their preference to the BJP, Mayawati will have to bring a sizeable section of the Muslims back into her fold to forge a Dalit-Muslim combine. As long as the SP was in the throes of a family feud, she had a fair chance of achieving this objective. This may be no longer the case since the Muslims are likely to see the SP-Congress alliance as a winning combination. If Mayawati falters again, the BSP will face a bleak future.

Read the full article: HERE

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