By Arun Srivastava
A degenerated ideology will ultimately give rise to a perverse electo-political system and create a deviant political vacuum. Notwithstanding the BJP grabbing the power in Uttar Pradesh in the recent assembly election, the state suffers with an acute political vacuum. An insight into the nature of the political vacuum makes it obvious that there is little possibility getting this repaired in near future.
The saffron leaders claim that the shift of the dalit voters, especially the Jatavs, the committed support base of Mayawati, to the BJP had started in 2019. In this election, they moved in significant number. Though UP has dominance of the upper caste feudal lords, the Dalits and the anti-BJP forces dictated the politics till 2000.
The political decline of these two forces witnessed the resurrection of the feudal and junkers as the new ruling elites. During this period the feudal lords who formed the base of the Congress shifted their loyalty to the BJP. The Dalits too started shifting their allegiance to the BJP. Two antagonistic and inimical forces started coming closer.
During the last five years almost all the founder members of the BSP, those who were handpicked and inducted in the party by Kanshi Ram had to leave or expelled from the party by Mayawati. In 2019 while some joined the BJP, in 2022 at least 12 senior Jatav and Dali leaders joined the Samajwadi Party.
Throwing out these senior Jatav leaders from the BSP started in 2014 when Mayawti gave the call for united front of Dalits and Brahamans. The person who gave a shape to this slogan was none else that Satish Mishra the close confidant of Mayawati. Her call for unity of Brahmins and Dalits panicked the Dalits.
After dictating the Uttar Pradesh politics for 40 years, BSP was completely washed out in 2022 assembly election. In 2017 it had won 19 seats in the assembly polls and had managed a vote share of over 21 per cent. But in 2022 the BSP was restricted to single digits with a vote share of 12.73 per cent.
It is quite intriguing to comprehend what made the BSP to perform so poor; a party which had bagged 206 seats and a vote share of 30.43 per cent and formed the government in 2007. It is an open secret that since 2014 Mayawati’s core vote shifted towards SP and BJP. She failed to protect her vote base from drifting specifically for two factors. The Dalits, core voter of BSP felt that for the first time they have got some benefit from welfare schemes of the saffron government, secondly Mayawati refusing to open front against BJP and even demystifying opposition parties as enemies of the dalits, particularly the Samajwadi Party, disillusioned the core voters.
Most of prominent leaders who had strong mass base, like Indrajit Saroj, Lalji Verma, Ram Achal Rajbhar, Om Prakash Rajbhar and Tribhuvan Dutt, who helped shape the BSP, this time left the party for SP.
Experts feel that ED and CBI framing her brother at the instigation of the BJP scared her to take fight against BJP. Yet another reason for the shifting of loyalty has been her “hasty” step of breaking the alliance with the SP after the 2017 assembly election.
Only a couple of days back, Mayawati accused the Muslims of betraying the BSP and no voting for it. But she refrained from accusing the Dalits for shifting their loyalty to the BJP. Nevertheless a question is being put to Mayawati that she must explain the reason why the Dalits and Jatav deserted the BSP, which they formed under the leadership of Kanshi Ram. It is an open secret that Maywati never supported the Muslims and stood in their favour. She even openly called upon Dalits to vote for BJP.
Her coming to power in 2007 witnessed her political eclipse. Expert feel that if she had not made a tactical shift and evolved the formula of social engineering to attract Brahmins to a party which had a massive Dalit base, she might not have faced the decline. The dalits felt betrayed and alienated. While they were scared of soft attitude towards the BJP, the party diluting its hard dalit ideological line was seen as endangering the existence of the Dalits. Brahmins have been dominant feudal caste in the state and they are known to perpetrate torture and atrocities on the Dalits.
Uttar Pradesh, particularly the districts Deoria, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Chandauli, Sonbhadra and Mirzapur located in the eastern region of the state had in the eighties and early nineties witnessed volatile left movement. It was during this period the state witnessed resurrection of Naxalite movement in the state.
The left parties even in this caste dominated state won significant number of seats. But unfortunately the left succumbed to the caste cauldron. As in other states it became the victim of caste and failed to organise a peasant struggle though the eastern UP has been most fertile area. For such movement.
The Left parties had sought to join a broad anti-BJP alliance for the UP polls but that did not happen. Akhilesh Yadav abhorred them. Even a small seat sharing could have brought about significant change. They were left with no alternative. Despite deciding to go it alone now, they fielded candidates on a limited number of seats to avoid a division in anti-BJP votes as such a split would be to the disadvantage of the Opposition parties. CPI state secretary Girish said the Left parties had decided to go it alone after other political parties did not respond to their overtures for the anti-BJP alliance.
The Left movement is said to have become weak in the post “mandal-kamandal’ era and the left parties have ceased to make an electoral mark in the politics of the state since then. They failed to send a single candidate to the Vidhan Sabha in 2007, 2012 and 2017 assembly elections though the Left parties have organisational presence in most of the districts.
The Left is contemplating to revive its dwindling fortunes in Uttar Pradesh. However, past election figures reveal that the Left parties in the state have been on a downward slide since the Ram Temple movement, which had polarised a large section of the Hindu votes. Communist Party of India has been participating in the UP poll since 1951 as a national party, while CPM made its electoral debut in UP in 1967. In 1951, CPI fielded its candidates from 43 assembly seats, and could not win a single seat. As many as 38 of its candidates were forced to forfeit their deposits.
It was 1974 assembly election that the Left parties took a giant leap forward and claimed 18 seats in all. Out of 40 candidates, fielded by the CPI, 16 romped home, and the vote share for the first time crossed 25% mark (25.57%). Udal retained his seat from Kolaslah, while two candidates of CPM out of 36 fielded by it also won. The 1977 assembly poll saw Mitrasen Yadav emerging on the political canvass of UP, as he won from Milkipur assembly seat in Faizabad on a CPI ticket.
The 1993 assembly election was the first to be held after the Ram Temple-Babri episode. The temple movement had polarised the votes in UP, and this was evident on the dipping numbers of the Left parties. While, CPI won three seats, the CPM could manage only a single seat. The CPI emerged victorious at Kolasla (Udal), Mohammadabad (Afzal Ansari) and Milkipur (Mitrasen Yadav). CPM’s Ramswroop Singh defeated Rajender Prasad of the BJP by 5,912 votes in Najibabad in Bijnor district.
The downslide of both the parties continued even in 2002 assembly election, as CPI could not win even a single seat, while CPM won 2 seats out of six it contested from. The Left movement is struggling for survival in the face of a stiff challenge posed by communal and casteist politics in the state. The Left movement in the state has been marginalised with none of its members entering the portals of the Vidhan Sabha in 2007 and 2012 elections, as the Left parties faced a total rout.
Notwithstanding the reverses suffered in the last two elections, all the Left parties, including CPI, CPI-M, Revolutionary Socialist Party and Forward Bloc, have together fielded candidates on 140 seats of the total 403 Assembly constituencies in UP this time. Cultural backwardness, lack of understanding of political ideology and failure to identifying the class enemy have been primary reasons for the degeneration of the left forces and BSP in Uttar Pradesh. (IPA Service)