- June 22, 2016
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Leader of Opposition in Uttar Pradesh assembly Swami Prasad Maurya has left BSP after a long association with the party. He accused Mayawati of selling tickets to the highest bidder for the elections slated to be held next year. An OBC, he is likely to join Samajwadi Party. He is amongst the three leaders of BSP whose names I know including Mayawati and Satish Chandra Mishra, so he was amongst the top leaders and hence a high profile exit. He is expected to get a ministry in Akhilesh govt.
BJP over the years has acquired a sizeable number of OBC votes and this could provide SP a leader to help them get back some OBC votes. He shares the same surname as BJP President Keshav Prasad Maurya. It is very surprising though why such a senior leader is leaving the party when opinion polls suggest BSP is favourites to win elections. So it hints that the elections may actually closer than they appear or there was no future for him left in the party.
Mayawati is the supreme leader of the party and takes all decisions. BSP in this aspect is not different from one man / one family show regional parties like SP, JDU, RJD, BJD, DMK, AIADMK, Shiv Sena, JDS, TMC, JMM, TRS etc. etc. It can even be argued that along with Congress (Gandhis), national parties like BJP also joining the list (Modi).
These sort of accusations have been levelled against Mayawati earlier as well. To my surprise while analyzing Delhi election results, I noticed that BSP which got good vote share in 2008 polls, had changed candidates for majority of the seats in 2013 and 2015, even where candidates had done very well in previous elections.
Party tickets on sale allegation is not restricted to BSP, these have been leveled against many parties. In 2015 elections, BJP lost Bihar also because its allies LJP, RLSP, HAM allegedly sold tickets. The “na khaunga, na khane dunga PM” has ensured nil corruption in central govt. With income squeezed, habitual offenders in cabinet fought to get as many seats as possible and then put it for sale (running into crores).
Appears to me, more a personal decision of Maurya, who was increasingly being marginalized in the party. He is expected to get a ministry in Akhilesh govt. So for 6-8 months he can enjoy fruits / luxury of his cabinet position. Kal kisne dekha hai. Jindagi aaj jeene ka naam hai!
Will this decision impact BSP prospects? Not much in my opinion. BSP’s vote bank votes for Mayawati. BSP supporters vote for Haathi and not for particular candidates. OBCs account for 20% of support base of BSP lower than BJP (33%) and SP (23%). It’s not one of its anchor vote segments which includes Dalits, Muslims and Brahmins. If anything it increases competition between SP and BJP for the OBC vote which is very critical for both parties.
He is unlikely to join Congress as party may not want to upset Mayawati whom it wishes to ally with in the future.
This event is not likely to impact BSP fortunes as Maurya doesn’t belong to anchor vote segment of BSP. Neither are OBCs are the targeted segment. Mayawati is better off wooing Muslims and Brahmins. OBCs is a crowded space.
A word of caution though. There is a thin line of difference between confidence and arrogance. She must not get carried away by initial polls suggesting BSP ahead and should be open to alliance with either Congress or RLD. BJP is behind, but in my opinion, irrespective of the fact it declares a CM candidate or not, main contest is between BSP and BJP.