BSP should consider joining forces with Opposition, says Uttar Pradesh Congress president

Political forces need to unite against the BJP... poor and marginalised communities are suffering under the present dispensation, says Ajay Rai

January 11, 2024 01:41 am | Updated 07:31 am IST - Lucknow

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati. File.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati. File. | Photo Credit: PTI

Uttar Pradesh Congress president Ajay Rai on January 10 said that for fulfilling the larger goal of defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) should consider joining hands with the Opposition for the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

The statement holds significance, with the Samajwadi Party (SP) reportedly asking its leaders to refrain from attacking BSP president Mayawati, hinting towards a truce.

“Political forces need to unite against the BJP. Poor and marginalised communities are suffering under the present dispensation. We believe that Mayawatiji should also consider joining hands with us,” Mr. Rai told The Hindu

Several other Uttar Pradesh Congress leaders also shared similar sentiments, saying that the Dalit community had been suffering under the BJP regime and so in the larger interest, the BSP should join hands with the Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).

“Ground reality in Uttar Pradesh is that the Dalits are suffering under the BJP dispensation and the BSP always did politics of marginalised sections. Hence, the INDIA bloc should be its natural choice. We also want them (BSP) to join us in the fight against the BJP. The BSP is a force to reckon with in the State,” said Anil Yadav, general secretary, Uttar Pradesh Congress. 

Last month, Ms. Mayawati had also hinted at keeping the doors open for the INDIA bloc, an alliance of 28 Opposition parties. “In future, no one knows when an alliance or party will need the support of the other party in the interest of the people and country,” she said.

The BSP, a Dalit-centred party, used to be a major political force in Uttar Pradesh in 1990s and 2000s. It formed the government on its own by winning 206 out of 403 seats in the 2007 Assembly election. However, it has witnessed a gradual decline in the past decade. The party polled only 12.8% votes, its lowest in almost three decades, in the 2022 Assembly election. Despite this, it is still considered to hold a sizeable support of Dalit electorates in the State. 

The SP, a partner in the INDIA bloc, had continuously targeted the BSP after the 2019 Lok Sabha election, which they fought together. The BSP won 10 seats and the SP won five.

They parted ways after the election and have since been in an attack mode, calling each other the “hidden” partner of the ruling BJP.

“Before the SP chief [Akhilesh Yadav], known by his and his government’s anti-Dalit policies and working style, takes an unrestrained jibe at the BSP, he should definitely look into himself and own tainted image of working for strengthening the BJP,” Ms. Mayawati said last week.

The SP maintained that in the recent INDIA bloc meeting no discussion over an alliance with the BSP had come up. “If there had been anything, it would have come up,” Mr. Yadav said earlier this week. 

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