Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was founded in 1984 by Kanshi Ram. It is essentially a caste based party representing SC/ST/OBC and minorities. After Kanshi Ram’s illness in early 1990s, Mayawati emerged as his protégé and now has full control over the party.
It is currently the third largest national party after Congress and BJP with a share of ~5% votes in national elections. In 2009 Lok Sabaha elections BSP won 21 seats making it the 4th largest party in the House.
BSP has a strong presence in Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati was CM of UP three times, once with Samajwadi Party support and twice with BJP support. In 2007, BSP got majority in UP assembly and she became CM for fourth time after she engineered a social coalition of bahujans, brahmins and other upper castes. In 2012 assembly elections, her party was defeated handsomely by Mulayam’s SP and she made her way to Rajya Sabha to play a national role. The party also has small presence in Chhatisgarh, Delhi, MP, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.
Like SP, BSP leaders day in and day out, slam Congress and its policies on one hand and also provide crucial outside support to govt. Its ironical that two principal opposition parties of UPA end up supporting it. Central Bureau of Investigation on your side can get you a lot of things – two arch enemies on the same boat.
UP represents 15% of Lok Sabha seats, Maya feels a sweep here could propel her to become PM, given chances of Congress and BJP getting a majority on their own is less. We can’t stop her from daydreaming.
Historical performance of BSP in Uttar Pradesh (Lok Sabha)
|% of Total Seats in UP||0.0%||0.0%||1.2%||7.1%||4.7%||16.5%||23.8%||25.0%|
BSP’s performance has been consistent for the past 15 years or so in Lok Sabha polls.
Possibilities for BSP in 2014
Uttar Pradesh is gripped by NaMo mania this time around. Muzaffarnagar riots have angered Muslims and they are unhappy with Mulayam. On the other hands riots have polarized Hindu voters. SC/ST votebank in the recently concluded assembly elections was captured by BJP (it won 67 / 71 reserved seats). The main fight is essentially between BJP and BSP this time in UP. Anti incumbency against Congress expected to decimate it completely. Polls predict 20-25 seats for BSP in May 2014. As per Politicalbaaba BSP would be able to retain its 20 seats.
(i) In case BJP is within striking distance of forming govt. and needs allies, Mayawati would not support NDA in my view. As in next state elections in 2017, main fight will be between BJP and BSP. There is an outside chance that she might be amenable to some other leader of BJP being made Prime Minister (not Narendra Modi).
(ii) In case BJP is not able to form govt. and Congress / Left parties try to cobble together a Third Front, she would flex her muscles to be made PM. Some readers have said they they would leave the country if she becomes PM. It will indeed be black day for democracy. It is really scary. Chances though are less as there will be other claimants like Jayalalitha. She might agree to a name other than Jayalalitha to head Third Front.