Bahujan Samajwadi Party’s (BSP) slowness in displaying its election strategies and footprints on the ground can affect the political equation in UP’s election turmoil. At present, the preparations of BSP are significantly less as compared to BJP, SP and Congress. In such a situation, the efforts of various parties are to make a dent in the vote bank of BSP. During the rise of BSP, the upper caste and backward class communities were associated with it. BJP’s strategy is to connect these two classes.
The strength of the BSP in the state has steadily declined in the last decade. In the 2012 assembly elections, it had won 80 seats, while in the 2017 elections, it was reduced to 19 seats. BSP could also get only 22.2 per cent of the votes. BSP has not launched any major movement against the government in these five years. There is doubt on how much its supporters are likely to stick with it in such a situation.
According to sources, the BJP’s strategy is to take advantage of the BSP’s seemingly weak position. BJP had also got a lot of benefits in the last Lok Sabha elections and assembly elections at the expense of BSP. At this time, BSP supremo Mayawati is bringing forth a new leadership in the party. But, apart from Satish Chandra Mishra, BSP does not have any big upper caste face. BSP lacks strong leaders even in the OBC community. Many of them are now in the BJP camp. The BJP is preparing to break into the upper caste and backward vote bank of the BSP to maintain its previous victory. The BJP also got massive support from these sections in the last elections. Now it is ready to increase it further.
The BJP leadership has also formed a ‘joining committee’ to include leaders from other parties in Uttar Pradesh. This committee is working vigorously and continuously. Small and prominent leaders from SP, BSP and Congress are being included. According to sources, the BJP is trying to make up for the displeasure of the existing voters’ anti-incumbency environment in the state so that the people from the opposition camp can join them.
BJP supporters are both welcoming and fearing the move. Some believe it is a good strategy, as seen in Tripura, while others believe it may end up the fiasco seen in West Bengal, where all BJP MLA’s resigned and went back to their original parties.