Marked Decline in BSP’s Influence, Vote Share Shrinks to Single Digit

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Chandrashekhar Azad emerges as a new Dalit leader. His rise signals a shift in Uttar Pradesh’s political landscape

Mohammad Alamullah | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), led by Mayawati, faced a significant setback in the Lok Sabha elections. Contesting 424 seats nationwide, including all 80 in Uttar Pradesh, the party has failed to make a mark, indicating a severe decline in its political influence.

Nationally, the BSP’s vote share has dropped to approximately two percent, nearly half of its 2019 performance. In Uttar Pradesh, the vote share decreased to 9.32 percent, a decline of over three percentage points from the 12.88 percent recorded in the 2022 assembly elections, where the BSP won only one seat.

Despite an intensive campaign, where Mayawati addressed over 40 rallies nationwide and 30 in Uttar Pradesh, the party’s efforts fell short. Midway through the seven-phase election, internal party issues surfaced when Mayawati removed her nephew, Akash Anand, from his position as national coordinator and successor. It came after Akash was charged with “promoting enmity” in a speech. Subsequently, Akash curtailed his campaign activities, further weakening the BSP’s electoral efforts.

The BSP’s strategy to garner Muslim support by fielding 35 candidates from the community in Uttar Pradesh did not achieve the desired results. This move prompted the Samajwadi Party and Congress to accuse the BSP of acting as the “B-team” of the BJP, alleging that Mayawati’s tactics were dividing the vote to the BJP’s benefit.

“We believed that a coalition of Dalit and Muslim voters would be powerful,” a senior BSP leader remarked. “Unfortunately, we failed to attract the Muslim vote, and some Dalit supporters also drifted away.”

Meanwhile, the elections highlighted the rise of Chandrashekhar Azad, a new Dalit youth leader. Leading in the Nagina Scheduled Caste reserved constituency by over 1.50 lakh votes, Azad’s Aazad Samaj Party (Kanshi Ram) has garnered over 5 lakh votes, indicating significant support. Azad’s competition included BJP’s Om Kumar and SP’s Manoj Kumar, with the latter receiving over a lakh votes, suggesting that some Muslim voters chose Azad over the SP candidate.

“Chandrashekhar Azad’s independent stance and appeal to the youth have resonated well with voters disillusioned with traditional parties,” noted Dr. Anil Verma, a political analyst.

The BSP’s decline and Azad’s rise signal a shift in Uttar Pradesh’s political landscape. Mayawati now faces the challenge of addressing internal conflicts and reconnecting with her core voter base amid the emergence of new leaders like Azad.

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