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Explained: Does BSP hold any influence in Bihar?

Over the years, the BSP has never really tried to cultivate its cadre in Bihar, and usually becomes active only during the elections.

Mayawati during election meeting in New Delhi. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

The Bahujan Samaj Party has largely been a peripheral player in Bihar politics, with influence in seats bordering Uttar Pradesh, such as in Buxar, Rohtas and Kaimur districts. The party had won six seats in the February 2005 Assembly polls and four in the October 2005 elections in Bihar. It had fielded candidates on 228 seats in the 2015 state elections and got just over 2% votes and no seats.

For the 2020 Bihar elections, the BSP is part of an alliance of over five parties, including Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) and Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM, and therefore can marginally cut into votes of the two leading parties. Earlier this month, however, the party suffered a jolt when its state president Bharat Bind switched over to the RJD. He is contesting from Bhabhua seat.

Also read | Explained: Who are Mahadalits?

The electoral base of the BSP in Bihar comprises primarily the Ravidas among the Scheduled Castes, who number about 4% of the state population.

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Over the years, the BSP has never really tried to cultivate its cadre in Bihar, and usually becomes active only during the elections. Though it entered the poll arena in the state in 1990, it could open its account only in 1995, winning two seats. Its tally went up to five in 2000. The party did not win any seat in the 2010 election, while polling 3.27% of the votes in the 239 seats it contested.

BSP chief Mayawati has been holding rallies in Bihar but they have had little impact on the prospects of the party and haven’t affected chances of the NDA and Grand Alliance either.

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