Mayawati, the first Dalit woman Chief Minister of the India, is set to hit her lowest point in Uttar Pradesh politics as her party, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) seems to be taking a nosedive in the UP polls, with a vote share of only 12.84%.
This is just a shade higher than its lowest ever, in 1993, of 11.12% of the votes.
In 2007, when the party had formed the state government with 206 seats, it scooped up 30.43% votes. It had continued to retain 26% vote share in 2012, and even got 22.33% votes in 2017, when it got 19 seats.
A teacher-turned-politician from the village Badalpur in Gautam Budh Nagar district, BSP chief Mayawati, now 66, first became CM in June 1995. Though her first government could survive only a few months, over the years that followed, as Uttar Pradesh failed to vote in a government with complete majority, Mayawati became the CM thrice with the help of the BJP, until she led the BSP to a complete majority in 2007. She has thus served as UP CM four times.
The 2007 election results, marking the largely Dalit-backed BSP’s victory against the ruling Samajwadi Party, was historic. The credit was given to Mayawati’s successful “Sarvajan hitaye, Sarvajan sukhaye (For everyone, For everyone’s well-being)” social engineering, attracting Brahmins who are considered vote influencers to the BSP.
Having been handpicked by her mentor Kanshi Ram and handed over the reins of the BSP, formed in 1984, this was Mayawati’s golden moment.
The years out of power have been difficult for Mayawati, with the increasingly elusive and authoritarian leader, who does not interact with the media, seeing many of her senior-most leaders leave, including founder-members of the BSP. Just before the polls, her loyalists such as former state president Ram Achar Rajbhar and BSP Legislative Party leader Lalji Verma left for the SP.
Mayawati and those close to her have also faced the heat of investigations of Central agencies, with repeated controversies marring her regime.
Throughout the current contest, she warded off accusations of being the B-party of the BJP. The command of the election as well as campaign was largely left to party general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra, among the only old-timers who remain in the BSP.
Just before counting day, in a surprise move, Mayawati announced her brother Anand Kumar as vice-president of the party and nephew Akash Anand as national coordinator.