The ruling BSP tasted defeat on Sunday for the first time since coming to power at the hands of Samajwadi Party in the Bhadohi by-polls. That the setback comes on the eve of Lok Sabha polls is as galling as the fact that the seat is reserved for scheduled castes and that SP’s Madhubala defeated BSP’s Amar Singh Saroj by over 5,000 votes.
The seat had fallen vacant after the death of Amar Singh’s sister-in-law Archana Saroj who had won in 2007 by a small margin on a BSP ticket.
The result comes as a blow to Chief Minister Mayawati who had personally campaigned for the candidate and as many as five of her ministers camped there for almost a month. The defeat also indicates that the charm is wearing off BSP’s new Sarvjan Samaj plank the Dalit-Brahmin-Muslim combination on which it is heavily banking for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. The three communities constitute a majority of voters in the constituency,and the BSP had tried its best to mobilise them.
While PWD Minister Naseemuddin Sidiqqui worked overtime to lure the Muslims,Brahmin ministers Rakesh Dhar Tripathi,Nakul Dubey,Subhash Pandey and Rangnath Mishra wooed the Brahmins. Plus,partys Brahmin mascot Satish Chandra Mishra also conducted a meeting of the Brahmin Bhaichara committee in Bhadohi. As for the Dalits,it was almost a foregone conclusion that they will vote for none other than the BSP,which is headed by the tallest Dalit leader. According to sources,while the BSP was able to win over a section of Muslims,it took the Dalits and Brahmins for granted,and had to pay a heavy price for it.
The Dalits were divided between the SP and BSP candidates. As for the Brahmins,a large chunk of them voted for BJPs Deendayal,accounting for over 14,000 votes.
The general complaint doing the rounds was that Archana Saroj,who remained ill for a long time,had neglected the constituency after winning the election in 2007,which in-turn affected the BSP. On the other hand,the work done by Bhadohi nagarpalika chairman Arif Siddiqui in addressing the local issues had helped the SP candidate. Intriguingly,Mulayam Singhs friendship with Kalyan Singh was not an issue for the Muslims of Bhadohi. As soon as the election result was declared,the BSP leaders went into the inaccessible mode. In the evening,state BSP president Swami Prasad Maurya issued a statement attributing the defeat to a dispute within the family of Archana Saroj. Archanas father Ram Nihor Rakesh,an old Congressman,wanted the party ticket for his son. Rakesh damaged the party in the election, said Maurya. The party will not allow such things to happen in the Lok Sabha polls,he said.
He also accused the SP candidate of misleading voters with his false propaganda against the BSP candidate. On its part,the SP described the Bhadohi result as indicator of the new direction in UP politics. Party media in-charge Rajendra Choudhari demanded that the chief minister should resign on moral grounds. The peoples verdict is against her misrule, he said. The Bhadohi blow comes a day before Chief Minister Mayawati was to conduct a meeting with party candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Party legislators,counsellors and senior leaders have been called for the meeting to discuss about the election strategy.