Is the Bahujan Samaj Party the ‘B Team’ of the BJP? While BSP supremo Mayawati prefers to maintain a stoic silence over the allegations levelled against her, political analysts call it the party’s ‘wait and watch strategy’ in the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The latest allegation against BSP comes from the party’s founder member Raj Bahadur, who recently joined Congress. Bahadur, who was an MLA from Ghazipur in 1994 and served as cabinet minister for social welfare during the BSP government’s regime, said Mayawati has made the party the ‘B Team’ of BJP. Bahadur added that Mayawati’s moves favour BJP, which is “an anti-national and anti-people force”.
A couple of months ago, Samajwadi Party general secretary Shivpal Singh Yadav described both the BSP and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) as associates of the ruling BJP. The SP leader’s reaction came as SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar said a Maharashtra-like situation would soon emerge in Uttar Pradesh with several SP MLAs likely to change sides.
“People like Om Prakash Rajbhar are lightweights, they make such statements to gain cheap publicity, especially when elections approach. These people always remain in touch with BJP,” Shivpal Singh Yadav had said while talking to the media. He added that he himself was in touch with BJP some time back but the party failed to distract him as he is a “socialist, a Samajwadi”.
In March 2023, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav too accused BSP of aiding the BJP. He had said that in the 2022 state assembly polls, the list of BSP candidates was finalised at the BJP’s office. Reacting to the dig, Mayawati had said it was SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav who was BJP’s B Team.
This time, however, Mayawati has decided to stay silent, with political analysts saying her strategy is to wait till the results are announced for the 2024 battle and then pick sides.
Shashikant Pandey, head of the political science department at Bhimrao Ambedkar University, called SP’s allegations an attempt to send feelers to Dalit voters — the core vote base of BSP — that they cannot trust Mayawati as she is not critical of BJP even on the most pressing issues.
“In UP politics, both SP and BSP remained dominant forces because of their politics of social justice where they enjoyed the support of extremely backward castes and Muslims apart from their core supporters — Yadavs and Dalits respectively. However, of late, BJP too has made deep inroads into extremely backward castes and is making further effort to win over Dalit votes. In such a situation, SP, which is trying hard to woo Dalit voters along with minorities, is facing a challenge from BSP and hence trying to portray it as BJP’s B Team,” said Pandey.
Senior political analyst Rajiv Shukla called the allegations a routine affair in politics. “Today, Samajwadi Party and other petty political parties are dubbing BSP as the B Team of the BJP. In the previous state elections in Bihar and Bengal, Congress and SP were calling Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM the BJP’s B Team. Then, the BJP stalwarts maintained a stoic silence and today, Mayawati is keeping her mouth shut. Her silence does not mean affirmation of Samajwadi Party’s wild accusations. Having suffered many times because of her tall talks, Mayawati has, of late, learnt the virtue of silence like Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Shukla.
Besides, he also called the BSP supremo’s decision to go solo in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls a part of the same strategy. “Going by Mayawati’s recent announcement that her party will not be a part of the anti-BJP INDIA bloc and contest solo in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, it is clear that she is trying to keep her options open,” he added.
With inputs from News18