Monday, July 22, 2024

BSP cadres seek change in leadership for party’s survival


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Lucknow, June 20: After a series of setbacks, the BSP cadres are now talking in hushed tones about the need for a change in leadership. The BSP leadership has stubbornly refused to hold any brainstorming sessions while the party’s vote share has touched rock bottom at 9.5 per cent in 2024 from 19.43 per cent in 2019.

The BSP has won no seats in the Lok Sabha elections and is left with just one seat in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. Its status as a national party is also at risk. This is the party’s worst electoral performance since its inception in 1984. Not only did the BSP draw a blank in terms of seats, an initial review showed that the party candidates were not able even to secure the second spot in any of the 80 Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh, a party insider said.

“The party has been steadily tumbling down after the 2012 Assembly polls but Mayawati is not bothered. There has been no discussion at any level in the party and everything — from crucial decisions about alliances to ticket distribution — is decided by her, except the blame for the defeat. If the BSP has to survive, there is a need to effect a change in the leadership at the earliest so that we can regain lost ground in the 2027 Assembly elections,” said a former party coordinator.

A former BSP MLA said that the party leadership had forced a majority of the party leaders to seek options in other parties and had expelled the remaining leaders. “Today former BSP leaders like Lalji Varma, R.K. Chaudhary, Ram Shiromani, Babu Singh Kushwaha have been elected as Members of Parliament from the Samajwadi Party. Who drove them away from the BSP?” he asked.

The party cadres now want Mayawati’s nephew Akash Anand to be brought back to a national leadership role. “He is young, dynamic and aptly aggressive. During the campaign, he managed to strike the right chords with party cadres. If he is brought back, there may be some hope for the BSP,” said a party worker.

Meanwhile, the BSP chief has sought a detailed report from all six sector coordinators across the state on the reasons for the party losing half of its vote share and its dismal performance in the recent elections. Mayawati is likely to hold a meeting with party coordinators on June 23. Another BSP functionary said the party’s top leadership is going to review all aspects of the poll results. “This indicates that there has been a failure in the selection of candidates,” he said, adding no BSP candidate could finish even as the runner-up.

He further said that replacing candidates at the last moment made voters presume that the party is working under some pressure. Citing the case of Jaunpur, he said that the BSP changed its candidate Shrikala Reddy Singh, the wife of Dhananjay Singh, on the last day of filing of nominations on May 5 and made its sitting MP Shyam Singh Yadav the party candidate. The party had also changed candidates on the Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Domriyaganj, Amethi and Azamgarh seats.

Another functionary said Akash Anand’s removal from the key role sent a wrong message among the BSP’s cadre and voters. He said the BSP candidates secured over 50,000 votes on 19 out of 26 seats, which is 73% of the total seats where was voting held till the third phase of elections. And in six of these 26 seats, it polled over one lakh votes. Mayawati had removed Akash Anand as the party’s national coordinator, calling him immature after the third phase of the Lok Sabha election on May 7.

Akash’s campaign events were also cancelled. Party cadres claim that the BSP performance deteriorated after Akash Anand was restricted from campaigning. BSP candidates secured 50,000 votes on 25 seats, which is 39 per cent of the 64 seats where polling was held after the third phase. The party secured over one lakh votes on 11 seats, which is 17 per cent of 64 seats after the third phase.



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