UP Elections 2022: Several of the BSP's new initiatives are being taken up by party’s national general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Satish Mishra and his family members.
The Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party is leaving no stones unturned in its bid to return to power in Uttar Pradesh after a decade. The party is going all out this time with a revamped approach which includes events focused on youth and women, brushing with soft Hindutva keeping the spotlight on Ayodhya, an enhanced social media presence and learning for the past mistakes.
This time, Mayawati’s party, which has decided to go it alone in the elections, is going beyond the Dalit-Brahmin social engineering and presenting itself as a party of ‘sarva dharma sambhaav’ (equality of all religions). While announcing its ‘Brahmin Mission’, the party has been organising Prabuddh Sammelans across the state.
Meanwhile, several of the party’s new initiatives are being taken up by party’s national general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP Satish Mishra and his family members.
While his son Kapil Mishra has been addressing meetings focused on youth, Mishra’s wife Kalpana has been holding meetings under “Prabudha Mahila Vichar Ghosthi” and “BSP Mahila Sammelan” initiatives for interaction with women’s groups from Brahmin and Dalit communities.
Mishra, meanwhile, has been pushing the party’s established Dalit-Brahmin formulation — both communities together have a 36 per cent vote share — with meetings that stress on “bhaichara (brotherhood)” between the two. This time, there is a new slogan, too: “Jai Bhim, Jai Bharat, Jai Parshuram”.
The party is also focusing on increasing its social media presence, where the BJP and Samajwadi Party are highly pro-active, highlighting their party’s poll promises along with each other’s alleged failures.
Mayawati created a Twitter account in 2018. Misra joined Twitter in July this year and has started live streaming meetings of “Prabuddha Varg Vishal Ghosthi”, a forum that primarily addresses Brahmins, on Facebook.
In another major change, the party has appointed spokespersons, in contrast to the previous years when party leaders were discouraged from speaking to the media.
And in an image makeover exercise, Mayawati appeared to address criticism from the past about public money being spent on parks, memorials and statues of herself by promising at a recent party event that she would focus only on the state’s development.
She had also announced that the party will not give poll tickets to “bahubalis (strongmen)” and went on to deny a ticket to five-term MLA and gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari. Before the 2017 Assembly polls, Mayawati had inducted Ansari and his family members in the party, and given them tickets. Ansari’s eldest brother Sibgatulla recently joined the SP.