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Stunned by rout in bypolls, BSP struggles to save core voters


Lucknow: The Bahujan Samaj Party, which won 10 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh May this year, has been handed a washout by the voters in the Assembly bypolls. Of its 11 candidates, five candidates could not even open their accounts in the bypolls, and six lost their deposits.

With this disastrous performance, the BSP, which was dreaming of making a political comeback in the 2022 Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, now seems struggling to save its core voter base in the state.

Not just UP, the BSP candidates could also not open their accounts in Maharashtra and Haryana, where party supremo Mayawati herself campaigned.

To retain deposit, a candidate must secure 16.66 per cent of the total votes polled. In UP however, the BSP candidates got 2.14 per cent votes in Rampur, 9.64 per cent votes in Lucknow Cantt, 8.21 per cent votes in Zaidpur, 4.52 per cent votes in Govind Nagar, 14.37 per cent votes in Gangoh and 12.74 per cent votes in Pratapgarh.

Not only did it come third in Balha, considered a rather safe seat, its vote share elsewhere was 5 per cent less than that of the SP. While the SP got 22.47 per cent votes, the BSP had to content itself with just 17 per cent.

This is a big jolt to the BSP, which severed its alliance with the SP post the Lok Sabha elections in which it walked away with 10 seats while the SP could score just 5. The Mayawati-led party was next aspiring to regain its number 2 position in the state.

"Not only have we been outnumbered by the SP, but also by the Congress, which is non-existent in UP. This is not a good omen. Retaining our 18 per cent vote bank is now the biggest challenge before us, if we want to win the next Assembly elections. Behenji and the party workers must come out and start working on the ground if the BSP has to survive," said a senior BSP leader.

"Mayawati will have to understand that 'firman culture' does not work anymore, anywhere, especially in politics. The voters and the supporters, both want direct communication with their leaders. Leaders, who only raise slogans and make speech, are not preferred any more. Unless it gets down to the earth, the elephant may lose the ground beneath its feet," said political analyst Prem Shankar Mishra.

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