For the first time since its inception three decades back, the BSP drew a blank in the Lok Sabha elections. Besides the collapse of its Dalit-Brahmin and Dalit-Muslim social engineering formula, the results indicated that a section of the party’s core Dalit support base voted for the BJP, which won all the 17 reserved seats from the state with huge margins.
In 2009, the BSP had won 20 seats and came second in 47 seats, after seeing a constant rise in its vote share since 1989, which was its first Lok Sabha election after being founded in 1984. This time, the party has come second in 34 seats.
The party has also failed to retain Rewa in Madhya Pradesh, its lone seat outside Uttar Pradesh in the outgoing Lok Sabha.
Mayawati had given tickets to 21 Brahmins and 19 Muslims. The number of Muslim candidates was increased after the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar in September last year, but none of them managed to win. In fact, in the seats where the SP and BSP both fielded Muslim candidates, the SP nominees polled more votes.
The BSP’s strongholds of Ambedkarnagar (erstwhile Akbarpur which was earlier won by Mayawati in 1998, 1999 and 2004), Sitapur and Misrikh were all won by the BJP. The BSP office and Mayawati’s residence in Mall Avenue area wore a deserted look on Friday. The results came as a shock to party leaders who were expecting a better performance than the SP at least.
Neither Mayawati, who had projected her party as the balance of power at the Centre after the elections, nor her party leaders spoke to the media.
BSP national treasurer and Rajya Sabha MP Ambeth Rajan said only Mayawati could comment on the party’s performance and they are “too depressed” to make any statement.
The party’s Rajya Sabha MP and western UP in-charge Munquad Ali said the party would conduct a survey to find out what went wrong, and would be able to draw conclusions only after that.
The BSP’s debacle was reflected in the strongest ever penetration of the BJP among Dalits and Backward Classes, as the party won all 17 Lok Sabha seats reserved for SCs. The BJP’s best performance in reserved seats in UP till now had been 13 seats in 1996. In 2009, the SP had won 10 reserved seats, followed by BSP’s two, Congress’s two, BJP’s two and Rashtriya Lok Dal’s one. The BJP also emerged victorious in seats like Phulpur and Ballia which it had never won before.