Maya Faces Grim Re­al­ity as Cadres Rush to BJP

Mayawati’s Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party has been steadily los­ing its work­ers to the BJP in the run-up to the re­cent Lok Sabha polls in Ut­tar Pradesh

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

The Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party has not just failed to win even a sin­gle seat in the Lok Sabha elec­tions but also steadily lost its cadres to the tri­umphant Bharatiya Janata Party in the run-up to the re­cent polls. Ac­cord­ing to the BJP Yuva Mor­cha of­fice, the party’s youth wing has reg­is­tered 3,310 mem­bers in Ut­tar Pradesh alone over the past three months that were ear­lier reg­is­tered as BSP cadres in the state.

That’s more than half the 5,900 youths reg­is­tered in the state by the BJP’s youth wing, ac­cord­ing to which the other mem­bers came from the Congress, Sa­ma­jwadi Party and other po­lit­i­cal par­ties. BSP mem­bers from Sa­ha­ran­pur, Muzaf­far­na­gar, Meerut and Bi­jnore led the mi­gra­tion to the BJP in their party.

Se­nior BSP ac­tivists say the mi­gra­tion started a year ago. So­cial sci­en­tist Badri Narayan, who is project di­rec­tor of Dalit Re­source Cen­tre, says the BJP’s tar­get has been mainly the war­rior com­mu­nity of Pa­sis. “The RSS put in ex­tra ef­forts to ap­peal to the Pasi youths. They dis­trib­uted pam­phlets re­fer­ring to the an­ces­tors of the com­mu­nity as the ‘rak­shaks (pro­tec­tors) of the Hindu re­li­gion’. These tac­tics have lured the war­rior class in western UP to the BJP,” said Narayan, adding that most of the mi­grat­ing cadres be­long to the Pasi, Kori, Dhobi and Valmiki castes that have is­sues with only Jatavs get­ting ben­e­fits un­der BSP chief Mayawati’s rule in the past.

Uday Tarak Raj, a BSP mem­ber since 2006 from Sisau­lia, who is with the BJP now, said that in western UP alone, over 1,000 Pasi youths shifted to the BJP in March. “We see it as a war for iz­zat (hon­our) now,” he said, adding, “The BSP man­dates a strict sense of dis­ci­pline among its cadres and in the last few years, the rules have only be­come stricter. You can­not even use abu­sive lan­guage. The BSP worker, un­like a BJP worker, who is a fighter, is like a mouse who en­ters from a hole and leaves with­out be­ing no­ticed.” The big­gest prob­lem, for­mer BSP mem­bers say, was Mayawati's lack of re­sponse to the Muzaf­far­na­gar ri­ots. “She did a rally to protest against ri­ots but didn’t ut­ter a word against vi­o­lence. Also, the cam­paign co­or­di­na­tors in western UP were Mus­lims, which an­gered her cadres among the Hindu Sched­uled Castes,” Tarak Raj said. Se­nior cadres be­lieve the grow­ing dis­il­lu­sion­ment also re­sulted from the lack of enthusiasm in the party’s cam­paign, mainly be­cause very few camps were held for the cadres. “In 2009, there were meet­ings be­tween party co­or­di­na­tors and cadres to as­sess the mood at the ground level and ini­ti­ate cor­rec­tive mea­sures. There was a clear man­date in the party to make Mayawati the PM, with at least three cadre camps in each as­sem­bly area and at least 3,000 party work­ers gath­er­ing at one meet­ing,” said Dahiya, ru­ing that this time the party chose to fo­cus on the rest of In­dia and started its cam­paign late in the state. Just 400 camps were held this time, half the last time’s num­ber, he lamented. How­ever, Badri Narayan said that the shift­ing of its work­ers would not af­fect BSP since its cadres in­clude thou­sands of work­ers, with at least 50 in each vil­lage. “BSP cadres are mainly part-time that came in large num­bers dur­ing elec­tions. So a few hun­dreds shift­ing now won’t be an is­sue for the party,” he said. San­jay Baudh, sec­re­tary of Dr Ambed­kar Stu­dents Front, agreed with Narayan and claimed the 3,000-5,000 cadres that left the party were not cadres but part of voter base that shifted sens­ing an op­por­tu­nity to make more money.

An­a­lysts claim shift­ing of work­ers won’t af­fect BSP since its cadres in­clude thou­sands of work­ers, with at least 50 in each vil­lage

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