By Vivek Tripathi
All political parties are gearing up for the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which has been in power in the state four times, has already kicked off its election campaign by holding “Prabuddh Samaaj Goshthis” or the enlightened class conferences to woo three upper caste communities — Brahmins, Tyagis and Bhumihars.
BSP General Secretary Satish Chandra Mishra, who is heading the enlightened class conference, is confident that in 2022 his party will form the government in Uttar Pradesh.
Mishra in an exclusive interview to IANS alleged that the BJP and the SP are each other’s B and C teams. He said both these parties deliberate together on the issues which need to be raised.
Asked about other opposition parties calling BSP the ‘B team’ of the BJP, Mishra said, “Such parties must worry about their own future. They don’t need to worry about the BSP. While we have organised 74 enlightened class conferences till now, other parties too are imitating us.” He claimed that all opposition parties are politically competing with the BSP.
The BSP leader said, “When we had lent outside support to the Congress, we were accused of being the B-team of Congress. Parties making such claims have no concrete issues to raise before the people. I ask that SP is the B team of which party? Who had helped the SP to form the government in Uttar Pradesh during 2003? They did not have a majority at that time. They took 37 MLAs from the BSP and still did not have the majority. At that time both the Congress and the BJP helped to form the SP government in Uttar Pradesh which lasted for nearly 3.5 years. So who is the B team of the SP? At that time the Speaker of the UP Assembly had justified this decision. We challenged this decision in the Supreme court to which the latter termed the decision as unconstitutional. So in reality everyone knows who is the B team.”
Asked what will be the issues on which the BSP will fight the 2022 UP elections, Mishra said that this time the BSP will fight the elections on issues such as ensuring better law and order and development. He said party Chief Mayawati’s name is synonymous with development and law and order. There was no area in Uttar Pradesh where development did not take place during her tenure.
The BJP is known as a party of Brahmins-Banias, how are you confident that Brahmins will vote for the BSP. Mishra replied that Congress too considered Brahmins as their traditional vote bank but they eventually drifted away from them. Brahmins are the most ‘Budhijeevi’ (intelligent) community and need respect which they rightfully deserve. When the BSP created a peaceful co-existing society of Dalits and Brahmins, then only they have got their desired rights.
The BSP gave proper representation to the Brahmin community by having 45 MLAs, 15 cabinet ministers, 12 MLCs, one Advocate General and 5,000 government lawyers from the community. We have worked for the welfare of all sections of the society and given due respect to every community, Mishra added.
The BSP leader said the SP considered the Brahmin community as their enemy. Even during the present BJP government in the state, Brahmins are facing a lot of oppression. The BJP government has not done anything for the upliftment of the Brahmins in the last four-and-a half-years. The Brahmins are being forced to flee their homes. Nearly two dozen priests have been murdered in the state, he added.
The Brahmins had come with a lot of hope before the BJP government to protect their religion. But the people from the community have been cheated in the name of Lord Ram at Ayodhya, so the Brahmins stand united with the BSP. The pride and self-respect of Brahmins is safe only with the BSP coming back to power in the state. This is why the Brahmins stand firmly with the BSP, Mishra said.
Asked if the BSP cadre is upset as the party is wooing the Brahmins, the BSP General Secretary said we not only speak about the welfare of Brahmins but all sections of society. Party cadre meetings are being held at the booth level in Uttar Pradesh. Brahmins, Dalits and minorities, including people from each and every section of society, attend these meetings. These people are constantly engaged in strengthening the party cadre base.
Asked whether the BSP which has been considered an expert in social engineering during elections, has not taken the support of the Muslim community aggressively, he said the Muslim community is standing firmly with the BSP. Party meetings are being held keeping in view the welfare of the Backward Castes and the Muslim community in every district. Together people from these communities will help the BSP form the government in Uttar Pradesh.
Mishra said the BSP has never had an alliance with AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi. The BSP had formed an alliance with former RLSP Chief Upendra Kushwaha during the 2020 Bihar Assembly polls. THe BSP did not have any alliance with Owaisi in the past and will not do so in the future.
The BSP leader said the party has formed an alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab. We had a pleasant experience of alliance with the SAD in Punjab in the past. Therefore, the BSP formed an alliance again with the SAD which remains strong. However, he clarified that the BSP will fight elections on its own in UP.
Mishra said there is only one face in the BSP which is that of party Chief Mayawati. Other leaders can keep entering and exiting the party. The entire UP election will be fought in the name of Mayawati. The rest of the party leaders are appointed only by Mayawati. Those who quit the party are never discussed again. This has been the political history of the BSP, he added.
Asked whether the SP-led Opposition Grand Alliance will politically benefit from the farmers’ protest in the 2022 UP elections, the BSP leader said the SP is misinformed about the farmers’ agitation. Mayawati provided security to the farmers. The farmers have not forgotten the riots in Uttar Pradesh. The farmers’ agitation will not benefit the SP. The BSP supports the farmers protest. From the Assembly to the Parliament, the BSP is fighting for the farmers’ rights.
Responding to a query, the BSP leader said the Azad Samaj Party will not affect the BSP’s poll performance in UP. The Dalit community is well-informed and can see through the leaders of parties such as the Azad Samaj Party. The Dalit voter has made up his mind.
Asked whether he will be the Chief Ministerial face during the 2022 UP polls, Mishra said such reports floated in the media are fake. The leader of the BSP is only Mayawati.