Curious Case of Mayawati’s Campaign in Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati finally addressed a campaign rally for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections on Wednesday. His choice of venue and target in his first campaign speech sparked curiosity about his approach to Uttar Pradesh’s polls.

Mayawati chose Agra, where she won all or most of the seats, but was resoundingly replaced by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2017, for the first election speech. This is where the BJP brought Baby Rani Maurya to contest the election after they removed him from the governorship. Baby Rani Maurya comes from the same Jatav Dalit sub-caste as Mayawati.

But in her speech, Mayawati came across as “soft” against the BJP and tough on the Congress, led by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in UP polls. Mayawati also took several digs at Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi party while reading his speech from a written text.

MAYAWATI ELECTION SCRIPT

Regarding the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati told his supporters, “The BJP policies have been guided more by the RSS and its narrow approach.”

Speaking on the Samajwadi Party, Mayawati said, “Remember that the Muzaffarnagar riots happened because of the mismanagement of the Samajwadi Party government.” “The SP government has changed the names of the towns which I named after Dalit icons in recognition of their great contribution to the cause of the oppressed.”

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In Congress, Mayawati returned to her main electoral call for Dalit identity. She said, “The Congress party has never bothered to recognize the great contribution of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar to upliftment of Dalits in the country and that is the reason why he was not even considered a a Bharat Ratna during his reign.”

This accusation is similar to the one the BJP has leveled against Congress. Mayawati lashed out at Congress for “not declaring even an official day of mourning for the death of BSP founder Kanshi Ram”, who died in 2006.

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Earlier, Mayawati told his followers on Twitter ‘not to waste your vote choosing Congress’ in the Uttar Pradesh elections.

EYES ALWAYS ON THE VOTERS

Mayawati’s outbursts in Congress have a lot to do with how Priyanka Gandhi ran the Congress campaign in Uttar Pradesh. When the Congress governed Uttar Pradesh, Dalits, Muslims and Brahmins constituted its main vote bank.

The BSP walked away with the Dalit vote bank at around 22%. The Samajwadi party won the Muslim votes with around 19%. The BJP claimed the Brahmin votes of around 10-12% in the UP.

After taking charge of Uttar Pradesh for Congress in 2019, Priyanka Gandhi tried to woo Dalits, especially women, with home visits to victims of certain crimes in Sonbhadra, Hathras and Unnao among others. She left to be filmed sweeping the floor while in detention and chatting with snake charmers.

READ ALSO | Pink booths set up for women in Kanpur to increase vote percentage

This all happened as political pundits predicted the fate of Mayawati’s BSP in Uttar Pradesh. However, his party emerged superior to its Lok Sabha electoral alliance partner, the Samajwadi party in 2019, winning 10 seats to five.

So when Mayawati rushed into the campaign trail from a BJP stronghold in Agra, she chose to castigate Congress. Mayawati claimed that his BSP would return to power in the 2022 elections while warning journalists, “Do not repeat your mistake of ignoring the BSP as you did in 2007.”

THE INVISIBLE ACT

Is Mayawati really late to take off in the UP poll race?

Mayawati launched his election campaign in 2017 and also in 2012 on February 1. In 2017, the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections started on February 11 and February 8, 2012. In this sense, Mayawati has kept its campaign schedule for the 2022 polls which starts on February 10.

READ ALSO | Not an exhausted force: Mayawati emerges from her cocoon to proclaim she’s in the count

In 2017, Mayawati started its campaign rallies from Aligarh and Meerut. In 2012, Mayawati chose Sitapur where Priyanka Gandhi swept the floor while detained in a guesthouse in October 2021 as she traveled to Lakhimpur Kheri to meet the families of farmers killed after vehicles were allegedly linked to the Union Minister Ajay Misra Teni’s son Ashish rammed into a group of protesters.

For the record, when Mayawati came to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2007 with a Brahmin-Dalit formula, she had launched her electoral campaign more than a month before the first phase of the polls. She started her election campaign on March 1 while the Uttar Pradesh elections started on April 7.

Mayawati, however, dismissed the accusation that she was ‘invisible’ and ‘not in the running’ for the Uttar Pradesh polls. Mayawati said she was working to boost her party’s prospects in UP polls.

READ ALSO | Jatavs versus non-Jatavs, Mayawati’s losing grip and Akhilesh’s awareness of Ambedkarite: The Dalit conundrum in UP

Confident in creating Dalit-Muslim social engineering, Mayawati appears to give one in three tickets to a Muslim candidate. Next come the other backward classes (OBC) and the Dalit candidates.

Will it be his mojo, the magical charm of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election in 2022?

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