Lucknow: As Bahujan Samaj Party president Mayawati prepares to enter her 64th year on January 15, her troubles seem to be multiplying.
While the BSP is facing threats from the Bhim Army, on one hand, and the Congress, on the other, Mayawati is also getting increasingly isolated in politics.
Mayawati’s growing nervousness is evident from the fact that she has been rather inconsistent in her political statements in recent months.
Ever since Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra increased her activities in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati has stepped up her attacks on the Congress.
Priyanka has been visiting homes of the gang rape victims and victims of anti-CAA protests. Since most of the victims are Dalits or Muslims, Mayawati is feeling threatened over this ‘encroachment of her support base’.
The Congress is apparently working towards regaining its traditional vote base among Dalits and Muslims in Uttar Pradesh.
“The BSP president has neither the time nor the inclination to visit people’s home in their times of distress. Priyanka Gandhi has made it a point to visit such people – whether it is the Sonebhadra massacre, or Unnao rape victim or anti-CAA protests. A leader should not expect voters’ support if they do not have the time to reach out to them,” said a senior Congress leader.
Akhilesh Singh, a senior Congress leader, says, “Does anyone remember when Mayawati hit the streets last time. Apart from tweeting, she has not done anything substantial for people affected by violence. She cannot dictate where Priyanka should go or should not. Since Priyanka is focusing on UP, she has to be here.”
Moreover, Mayawati’s cautious criticism of the BJP government at the centre and the state has also not gone down well with the Muslims.
“Mayawati’s stand with regard to the BJP has been changing at an alarming rate. We do not know whether she is in support of the BJP or against it but we do know that the BSP is under pressure from the Modi government. Mayawati has been asking her party workers not to protest against abrogation of Article 370 or CAA,” said Faisal Khan, a former BSP worker.
Meanwhile, the Bhim Army has now firmly positioned itself against the BSP. Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, initially, extended the olive branch to Mayawati but after she spurned his offer, has decided to oppose her.
The Bhim Army, which was a quasi-political organization till now, has announced that it will contest the upcoming elections in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar has been wooing the youth in Dalit and Muslim communities with a vengeance.
Presently in jail, Chandrashekhar has found support from the Congress. Priyanka Gandhi has slammed his arrest and has sought his release from jail.
According to sources, if the Congress agrees to an alliance with the Bhim Army in the 2022 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the BSP could emerge as a major loser.
The BSP has already burnt its bridge with the Samajwadi Party and Akhilesh Yadav is in no mood for reconciliation.
Dalit leaders have been walking out of BSP and the party is completely bereft of a second rung leadership.