Mayawati will be back in the opposition fold

Mayawati has maintained a safe distance from both the national parties, BJP and Congress.



BSP Supremo Mayawati on Wednesday pulled the plug on speculations of her possible alliance with Congress in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. In a press conference, she made explosive allegations on Congress for the discontinuation of talks and accused it of adopting a big brother approach to the alliance. She even blamed Congress senior leader Digvijaya Singh of sabotaging the possible alliance between Congress and BSP. “Congress has the misconception that it can face BJP on its own. It is because of these political decisions that Congress has lost elections repeatedly and BJP is winning state after state,” Mayawati said. She even accused that the Congress, just like BJP, trying to finish BSP politically. “But it won’t happen. It is the arrogance of Congress to think that it can defeat BJP on its own,” Mayawati warranted a quick rebuttal.


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The news indeed sent shockwaves in political circle, especially among Congress followed by an expected hysteria among the media fraternity. “Opposition Unity in tatters”, “Congress fails to tie Mahagathbandhan”, “Elephant crushes hand” etc…hasty analysis occupied the TV screens. Some even handed out a certificate saying Mayawati not aligning with Congress is the biggest leadership fail of Rahul Gandhi. There was an evident frenzied alacrity to jump to the conclusion that Mayawati leaving is the crisis for opposition unity. Not to mention that the political commentators missed out on details that exist beyond the issue at the hand.

Let us first go through some facts:

Mayawati has not been in power for a long time

Mayawati’s BSP stormed India’s political scenario when it won 2007 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Not only its core supporters i.e. Dalit community voted for her, but also Brahmins and a section of minorities voted in her favor. Since the splendid victory of the BSP’s elephant in a politically decisive state of UP, the party has turned out to be a sinking ship. In 2012 the BSP tally fell from 206 seats in 2007 to 80 seats.

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In 2012 assembly election BSP’s vote share in Uttar Pradesh went down to nearly 26 percent and in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, to nearly 20 percent. Even in the 2017 assembly election, the party could only win 19 seats even after getting 22 percent of the total votes. Mayawati’s BSP has been out of power for a long time now. Visibly, a fear of fading into electoral and social oblivion has kicked in the party.


Mayawati and BJP can never go along:

Considering that Mayawati cannot win the MP Assembly elections on her own, there have been the host of opinions saying Mayawati could be acting like a B team of BJP. However, one cannot overlook the basic factor that differentiates BSP from BJP. While BSP’s core vote banks are Dalits, BJP is a party of Upper Caste Hindus. Both the parties are ideologically poles apart. If at all, Mayawati joins BJP lurking for a ministerial post, it will be nothing short of political suicide for the party. Not only the move will upset her core vote bank but also reduce her political importance. Mayawati knows it very well that even if she gets a cabinet birth, she will lose the power of negotiation in the coalition. The BSP will virtually lose its existence. The perfect example to describe this is Ramdas Athawle. However, Mayawati isn’t another Ramdas Athawle and thus will not take the risk of aligning with the BJP.

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Mayawati never was in the opposition unity:

All the while when everyone was considering Mayawati a part of opposition unity, the truth was she never showed any real signs of being a part of it. Except for the one time she appeared at the oath-taking ceremony of Kumaraswamy in Karnataka. The ceremony was seen as the projection of the might of opposition unity. Even in the by-polls of Gorakhpur and Phulpur, Mayawati just extended her support to the SP candidate and refused to contend as the joint opposition candidate from Phulpur. She also kept a distance from the Bharat Bandh called by Congress on 10 September.

Sonia Gandhi
Sonia Gandhi heading opposition meet at Parliament’s library building

Incidentally, the change in her tunes was first noticed when she blamed both Congress and BJP for the rising fuel prices. While she kept insisting on no tie-up with the parties in her own stronghold state UP, she went ahead and joined hands with JD(S) in Karnataka and INLD in Haryana-both states where the party has a negligible presence.

Though Mayawati not tying up with Congress is a good news for BJP, one cannot be completely sure of what her next move will be as she has shown traits of unpredictability.


Mayawati will eventually join the opposition:

Considering the above three factors, it is clear that Mayawati has maintained a safe distance from both the national parties, BJP and Congress. The last assembly election data shows that Mayawati has a vote share of 6.29 percent and 3.37 percent in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, respectively. Even if the factor of rising Dalit anger is considered to gain her more votes, it is certain that she cannot win all the seats in both the state assemblies by herself.

What going alone will achieve is, bring her to a position of respectable negotiation in case if there are talks of the post-poll alliance. In that case, technically, Congress and opposition is the only viable option for Mayawati. Just like JDS in Karnataka, Mayawati’s BSP can get into a post-poll alliance with Congress in exchange of plush ministries.

Rahul Gandhi
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What one has to understand here is, the non-BJP regional parties have no better practical option other than Congress when it comes to alliances. Thus, even though BSP seems to have been flirting with BJP, one can be sure that when the time comes, Mayawati will join the opposition. What we need to watch out for is when the homecoming will actually happen!

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