The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has got into election mode to take on rival parties in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, with party chief Mayawati sounding cadres and prospective candidates to prepare for the election. Even the process of screening of names of prospective candidates has started and some names which have been shortlisted asked to move out among the people with the aim of contesting elections. “The preparations for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls are on, party cadres and leaders have been given clear-cut task to move to their respective areas and go all out to prepare,” a party leader told PTI. The BSP has always been making preparations well in advance in all the elections instructing its cadres and finalizing names even when other parties had not got into the groove.
“The performance and acceptance among the public of those who have been sounded to contest elections will be under scrutiny and screened from time to time and there will not be any relaxation at any level,” he pointed out. The party chief will take feedback from office bearers and party loyalists from time to time regarding winnability of the candidates and further decision, if needed, on their candidature will be taken as per these reports, he said. There has been speculation ever since the dismal showing of all non-BJP parties, first in the Lok Sabha elections and then in the recent Vidhan Sabha polls, that they might come together to check the growth of the saffron party in the Hindi heartland. The speculation gained ground in the recent past after both the BSP and the SP, arch-rivals in state politics, supported the candidature of Meira Kumar as president.
SP leader Akhilesh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati are also likely to share platform at a rally organized by the Lalu Prasad-led RJD in Patna on August 27. “The party supremo has directed the party leaders to start preparation and almost all the names are likely to be finalized by the year end, about one and a half year ahead of elections,” he said. This has been the way the party has been going about in all elections and this time too it is no different, he said, adding that BSP being part of any alliance or group is a thing that concerns the future and will be decided by the party chief when she feels it right and appropriate.
The SP and the BSP together make a formidable alliance with the consolidation of Dalit and backward votes which could effectively checkmate the BJP and both are aware that they need some strong ground to face the BJP challenge. The BSP could win only 19 seats in 2017 assembly in the 403-member House, down from 80 in 2012. This is its lowest tally since 1991, when the party won 12 seats. The SP won 47, its lowest tally since the party’s inception in 1992. The BJP cornered 40 per cent of the votes polled, an increase of 25 per cent since the last time, bagging along with its NDA partners 325 seats. As the BJP’s unprecedented tally dwarfed the opposition, which has together been reduced to less than 75 seats, there was a move specially by RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav for an alliance between the SP and the BSP.