BSP did not win a single seat this time, though it secured 14.5% votes in 2008
The Bahujan Samaj Party that had emerged as an alternative force with 14.5 per cent vote share in the 2008 Assembly elections could not manage even a single seat this time round. In its debut run, the Aam Aadmi Party not only drubbed the Congress and defeated several BJP stalwarts, it also decimated the Mayawati-led party.
On its debut in the Delhi elections in 2008, political observers say that the BSP had bagged two seats – Badarpur and Gokalpur – riding on the Dalit vote in the Capital. With the debutant AAP now winning nine of the 12 reserved category seats, the BSP has failed to even register its presence in the city this time, despite an aggressive last lap campaigning by party chief Mayawati.
Banking on the sizeable population of the Valmiki community in the city, in the last elections the BSP had secured over 20 per cent vote share in 15 Assembly segments including Badarpur, Babarpur, Tughlaqabad, Gokalpur (SC), Narela, Chattarpur, Deoli (SC), Badli, Sultanpur (SC), Palam, Rajinder Nagar, Okhla, Trilokpuri (SC), Kondli (SC) and Ghonda. This time the party could manage just over 5 per cent vote share in aggregate.
The party leaders said they could not foresee the undercurrent of AAP that swept away their traditional vote bank. “AAP ne sabpe Jhadu chala di, hum log samajh nahin paye (AAP swept the polls with its broom, we could not foresee it),” said BSP leader M.L. Tomar, in-charge of the 2013 Delhi polls.
But Mr. Tomar refused to get into the reasons behind the BSP rout stating “he is no more looking into Delhi affairs”.
Political observers, however, list several reasons behind the AAP wiping out the BSP even in the reserved constituencies. “The demographic profile of the traditional voters of the BSP is very different in Uttar Pradesh compared to Delhi. Here voters belonging to even Scheduled Castes are much more informed, so issues like corruption and inflation seem to have made an impact cutting across communities,” said Political Science Professor Sudha Pai from Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Experts say identity politics appears to have taken a back seat in Delhi, at least this time round, and the AAP was able to strike a chord with the electorate by fielding candidates who came from “among the people”.
“The affidavits filed by the BSP candidates reveal that several of them are millionaires. On the other hand, AAP candidates are from humble backgrounds. People relate with them more easily,” said Ms. Pai, adding that this time Delhiites saw an alternative in the AAP.