By Kulsum Mustafa
Written off as a ‘spent force’, Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo, Mayawati, the reigning queen of ‘political intrigues’ is the top game spoiler for Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav’s 2022 assembly polls. While on one hand she is fielding minority candidates and dividing SP votes on the other side by keeping her doors ajar for Turncoats, Mayawati is making things easier for SP detractors. Charged with being the Team B of the BJP, her shrewd election strategy points towards a post-poll alliance
Credited with being the initiator of the highly effective social engineering formula which she ground tested in 2007. By bringing the Muslims, Dalits, and Brahmins on one platform Mayawati had devised the hit plan of the three jointly fighting a winning battle in the caste-ridden Uttar Pradesh. Mayawati had won 61 out of the 85 reserved seats of the SC quota. However, 2012 and 2017 state assembly polls pushed her off the radar as SP and (BJP) took center stage.
In 2022 seven phased assembly elections out of the 109 tickets given out by the BSP for the first two phases Mayawati has given 40 tickets- 19 in first and 23 in the second phase, to minority candidates. In Bijnor, the BSP fielded Muslims on five out of seven seats. In SP’s traditional stronghold, Moradabad, she fielded five Muslims out of six seats. In Sambhal, three out of four BSP tickets were given to Muslims while in Rampur Mayawati fielded two Muslims on a total of five seats. This way Mayawati is helping create a division in Akhilesh’s minority vote bank. BJP will be the direct beneficiary of this strategy.
The second strategy of Mayawati which is directly affecting SP is the way SP detractors are being welcomed in BSP and given tickets to contest. It is said that Mayawati is accommodating these turncoats in the ‘dummy pool’ that she has made
The latest turncoat to join BSP bandwagon is former SP minister and Shivpal Yadav loyalist, two-time MLA from Zahoorabad Sayyeda Shadab Fatima. Disappointed after her political mentor, Shivpal Yadav who had parted ways with Akhilesh and formed his own party, got just one ticket for himself after the uncle-nephew signed a truce.
When she crossed over to BSP she was chosen to challenge SBSP chief, former BJP minister Om Prakash Rajbhar, Akhilesh’s alliance partner. BJP has fielded two times former MLA, Kalicharan Rajbhar, from here.
Another turncoat is SP’s two-time MLA from Rudauli Abbas Ali Zaidi. Denied ticket he first created lots of negative publicity for Akhilesh, threatened to leave party and contest as independent but he too finally landed up in BSP camp a. Mayawati went as far as to replace BSP candidate for Rushdi from Rudauli.
In Fazilnagar (Kushinagar) it is the former SP member Mohammmad Illyas Ansari, party’s district general secretary for nine years who has been pitted against Swami Prasad Maurya. Parvez Alam son of former SP minister Shakir Ali will contest from Pathardeva