Lok Sabha Elections 2024: The Message Behind Mayawati's Absence?

Can the BSP survive the 2024 Lok Sabha elections without Mayawati's strong leadership? With internal strife and Akash Anand's removal, is the party prepared to counter BJP's dominance in Uttar Pradesh? Discover the challenges facing Mayawati's BSP.

Bhupendra Chaubey
New Update

Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is navigating a tumultuous period as it approaches the  2024 Lok Sabha elections. Internal strife and recent leadership changes have cast a shadow over the party’s prospects. Central to this upheaval is Mayawati’s decision to remove Akash Anand from his position as national coordinator. Anand, previously seen as her potential successor, has faced criticism for his aggressive rhetoric, which led to an FIR being lodged against him in Sitapur.

Turbulence Within the Party

Akash Anand's removal marks a significant shift within the BSP. Known for his assertive language, Anand's controversial statements have not only led to legal troubles but also implicated other BSP candidates and a rally organizer in Sitapur. The FIR against Anand and other BSP candidates, along with a rally organizer, has added to the party's woes. Such incidents, while legally challenging, are often seen by some politicians as badges of honor.

This internal turmoil comes at a critical juncture for the BSP, which has been struggling to maintain its relevance in the shifting political landscape of Uttar Pradesh.

The Importance of Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh, with its 80 Lok Sabha seats, is pivotal in determining the outcome of India’s national elections. Historically, the BSP and the Samajwadi Party (SP) have wielded significant influence in this region, each drawing support from distinct caste groups. The SP has traditionally relied on the Yadav community, which comprises about 9% of the state's population and is classified as Other Backward Classes (OBC). In contrast, the BSP’s core support base has been the Jatavs, a subgroup within the Dalits, recognized as Scheduled Castes.

However, the upcoming election phases have revealed a noticeable absence of a robust campaign from both the BSP and SP, highlighting their struggle to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) dominance.

Mayawati’s Waning Influence

Mayawati, a four-term chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, once commanded considerable influence in the state. Her tenure included three brief stints and a full term from 2007 to 2012. Despite a long-standing rivalry, the BSP and SP formed a coalition in the 2019 national election to challenge the BJP. However, their combined efforts yielded limited success.

The BSP faced a severe blow due to demonetization in 2016, a policy implemented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This, coupled with anti-incumbency sentiments against the SP, significantly weakened their positions.

In the 2022 state assembly election, the BSP's decline was stark, securing only one seat out of 403. The SP, though faring better with 111 seats, still lagged behind the BJP and its allies, who won a commanding majority with 273 seats.

Recent Candidate Changes

In a bid to revitalize its campaign, the BSP recently announced changes to its candidate lineup for key Lok Sabha seats. Initially, Ravi Prakash Maurya was declared the candidate for Amethi, but he has been replaced by Nanhe Singh Chauhan. Prathmesh Mishra will contest from Pratapgarh, and Ravi Prakash Kushwaha will represent the party in Jhansi.

Mayawati’s candidate selection seems to mimic the SP’s nominations, picking candidates from the same castes in respective seats. This strategy indicates the party's desperation to maintain some relevance.

Future Prospects

The BSP's current state of disarray raises significant questions about its future. With Uttar Pradesh playing a crucial role in national politics, the BSP’s lack of a coherent strategy and Mayawati’s diminishing influence cast a long shadow over the party’s chances in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The BSP appears to be in complete chaos, without strong leadership and a clear plan, their impact on the upcoming elections seems uncertain at best.

As the election season progresses, the spotlight will be on how the BSP navigates these turbulent times and whether it can regain its footing in one of India’s most politically significant states.

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