The UP Vidhan Sabha (assembly) election results are out and Maywati of BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) has risen to power, ending 15 years of coalition era in UP. Uttar Pradesh is the biggest state -from electoral point of view- and is said to heavily impact the future of who governs at the Center. The results at a glance: Out of 403 seats, results declared 402: BSP 206, SP 97, BJP 50, Congress 22.
The BSP victory is surprising , indeed! Although election pundits were predicting BSP as the fore-runner, no one envisaged that it wll emerge out victorious with a clear-cut majority (has won 206 of 402 assembly seats.
Whereas the ruling party – Samajwadi Party led by the Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav- was expected to lose, most surprising aspect has been that BJP has suffered heavy losses in these elections grabbing just 50 seats (sliding down from 88). Congress party has been able to retain only 22 seats (sliding down from 25) despite Rahul Gandhi’s extensive campaigning.
Thus what is the miracle behind BSP’s ascension to power? BSP as the name itself indicates is based upon an ideology of upper caste bashing and uniting lower caste Hindus. This plank of uniting all lower caste Hindus looks appealing on papers but practically it never paid dividens to the party. Thus Mayawati shuffled her ideological stance this time, and tried to make a rainbow coalition of all castes including upper castes (bahujan to sarvjan): this successful display of social engineering consolidated the votes for her party and infact muslim votes also went her way, thus ensuring absolute majority for BSP.
It is ironic that a party (BSP) based upon divisive ideology could bring all castes together mustering a clear majority , but a party (BJP) which ideologically represents all these ingredients (nationalism, Hindutva) could not succees in this experiment ! It is a point of great introspection for BJP because what should have been a natural result of BJP’s ideological manifestation, Mayawati actually enacted it . Why RSS backed BJP has failed to consolidate Hindu votes despite its nationalistic outlook! One reaosn is increasing ‘congressisation” of BJP. Of late, BJP has increasingly tried to polarize nationals of this country on the line of religion and has infact tried to woo minorities as a vote bank. Congress’s pseudo-secularism is for everyone to see, but BJP too has created a kind of environment wherein it treats minorities (particularly Muslims) as per its own convenience: bashing them at one time to wooing them at another time! It is high time that RSS- backed BJP come out with a sincere appel for nationalism and this will prevail upon sinister political strategies of polarizing people on caste or religion basis.
A word of caution for our worthy voters: Mulayam’s exit and incumbent Mayawati’s rhetoric that she would weed out corruption must be taken with a pinch of salt. Neither has a clean slate as far as transparency in governance is concerned! One corrupt politician is being replaced by another in a phenomenon called “revolving door democracy” which has come to establish itself in India. Remember Mayawati had almost strangulated Taj corridor for the lust of money and no one knows the exat magnitudes of this scandal. Similarly Mulayam Singh Yadav is leaving the corridors of power after building an empire out of tax-payers’ money!
On a good note however, it was interesting to see Election Commission holding its firm grip over the whole process of multi-phasic electioneering in UP this time and this left the ousted Mulayam Singh Yadav almost gasping for breaths! How immoral of him that in a free and fair elections, he is accusing EC of suffocating democracy!