Monday, October 3rd, 2022 09:37:28

The Silence Of Mayawati

Updated: February 15, 2014 2:17 pm

In the brouhaha over the Aam Aadmi Party’s electoral success in the Delhi Assembly election , though outcome of that on the Bahujan Samaj Party BSP) was never seriously analysed. Bahenji was the biggest loser.

But wrapped in mystique both Bahenji and her BSP have bounced back from near doom. In fact by securing a huge majority on her own in Uttar Pradesh Assembly, she showed how trimming and social engineering BSP could vanquish even her old rival Mulayam Singh.

But what should one expect in the 2014 general elections. Since 2009 the BSP has continuously in sharp decline. The probability now that it would repeat its performance of 2007 is almost nil. The question is whether it could continue to be a major player in UP, the odds are stacking up against such a possibility. Its social engineering which brought Brahmins in the party is not possible, the Brahmins are now unhappy. Moreover, owing to the intense campaigning by the BJP in the state, most Brahmins and Vaish would favour it. In any case, Bahenji’s ambition of becoming a pan-India party seems to be rather far-fetched, now.

Figures clearly show that the BSP suffered a setback in all Assembly elections held in major states in the last few years. Its vote share and the number of seats it won in the legislative Assemblies have declined in Bihar, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, UP, Gujarat, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. BSP has also failed to increase its national vote share for almost two decades.

Since the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the BSP’s ambition of expanding outside UP has only seen setbacks. The upcoming Lok Sabha elections and subsequent Assembly elections in the states of Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand later this year will probably finish BSP’s ambition of becoming a national party with a significant electoral presence in multiple states.

Mayawati has paid heavily for inducting members who had little interest in its ideology. Basically BSP is built on the support of Dalits, who are 18 per cent but are spread out among too many constituencies to be able to assure a winning Dalit-only party.

During her absolute rule in UP, her arrogance, ostentatious lifestyle and not even bothering about the rape and other atrocities of Dalits alienated a substantial chunk of Dalits. Once when Dalit women tried to stop her cavalcade, she refused to come out and drove off after police cleared the way. Dalits realised that she was more interested in amassing wealth for herself. Building parks and elephants were for glorifying herself.

The BSP leadership (read Bahenji) failed to re-energise the organisation. Her self-aggrandizement thus made a major segment of Dalit voters desert her during the 2012 Assembly election. Even now, the BSP is relying on its old formula of social engineering for revival. The party has already announced its first list of 36 Lok Sabha candidates in UP and has given almost 50 per cent tickets to Brahmins. It has shown no signs of a new political message, and not a single leader in Mayawati’s coterie is Dalit. Time is ripe for some other political party to attract Dalits. A new era of Dalit politics is imminent.



 AAP On The Hump Of Crisis


Still hanging on to its fading popularity, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is losing its shine among the middle class in particular and many Delhiites because, first it has failed to fulfill their promises and secondly because of the dharna by its founder Arvind Kejriwal, now the Chief Minister, which was an unprecedented sight—a chief minister behaving like a dissident. The truth is, once an agitator, always an agitator.

Agitation had paid. AAP flourished, became remarkably popular when its leader Arvind Kejriwal, with his rather cleverly chosen symbol, broom, went from street to street and contacted almost every household promising that the ‘corrupt’ Delhi Congress government would be swept away. His agenda was, he claimed, to weed out the corrupt, however high and mighty they might be, and to involve people in every decision. It was a formula for instant popularity and success.

But even as the Chief Minister Kejriwal remained an agitator. And that could be his undoing, not because of the Congress Party withdrawing its support, but due to, first, its own legislators leaving him and secondly because of the failure to fulfill any of his promises, so far, busy as Kejriwal has been confronting the Centre, entirely for a cause no one has sympathy for.

When President Pranab Mukherjee in his Republic address to the nation said that “Government is not a ‘charity shop’ and ‘populist anarchy’ cannot be a substitute for governance”, he chastised AAP government. He was critical of the two-day dharna outside Rail Bhawan against the central government by Kejriwal. He said, “Elections do not give any person the license to flirt with illusions.”

Kejriwal countered that he reread the Constitution and nowhere it has banned chief ministers to stage dharna. No one would believe in his logic. The drafters of the Constitution, all most eminent and the best talented leaders, could have never imagined that an elected chief minister would go on strike or a dharna. They were respected people and did not need to resort to dharnas to keep themselves in public mind.

Kejriwal might still be popular but crisis is looming with the numbers of his party going down. With the expulsion of its MLA Vinod Kumar Binny, on grounds of indiscipline, AAP has 27 legislators left. With the outside support of eight Congress MLAs, the AAP government would have now strength of 35 seats in the 70-seat Assembly. The JD(U) MLA is so far supporting it. But Binny claims to have two MLAs who are likely to desert, but they can only do it if they rebel and are sacked. But, if BJP demands vote of confidence, the two MLAs could vote against their own government.

That would be the end of AAP government. But Kejriwal is clever, and street smart, realising that Congress might withdraw support, convinced that people are amply disillusioned with AAP, Kejriwal has moved quickly to announce that he would reopen corruption cases from the 2010 Commonwealth Games held during the Congress regime. He said he would probe anyone, even it be Sheila Dikshit.

This would leave Congress into a quandary. If it pulls rug under the AAP government, Kejriwal would take to the street claiming that it wanted to shield its corrupt. But if it does not Kejriwal would relentlessly pursue the case.

But Congress is patient, for, once AAP’s Law Minister Somnath Bharti is arrested, he would lose his seat as per the ruling of the Supreme Court. That would leave AAP in a minority and its government would collapse.



  Certificates For Tharoor


The cocktail circuit is less interested in the progress in the investigation than in knowing whether Tharoors had a fight, whether Sunanda was upset and depressed over the reports of a fling by her husband with Mehr Tarar. It is no surprise that Delhi, which is in any case the capital of rumour churning windmills, is now trying to dig deep into the lives of Tharoor and Pushkar. There is nothing more enjoyable than voyeurism. But this unsavoury interest is not surprising. Questions for which they want answers cover the reasons, if any for committing suicide and then enter the privacy of the couple trying to find out if they had differences over the Pakistani lady Tarar. She and Tharoor allegedly exchanged emails. Why did the beautiful Sunanda Pushkar, who seemed happily married to Shashi, herself took an overdose of anti-depression pills and died. Or, someone else gave her the pills in drinks,

The case has indeed all the ingredients of a whodunit, romance, good times, bad times, adventures, high society, wealthy people, cocktail circuit and Page 3 luminaries. All these beautiful people were caught unawares when the autopsy report said that Pushkar died of unnatural causes and traces of anti-depressant pills have been found. The case involved so many unknown factors that it in fact requires an Agatha Christie or P.D. James to unknot the mystery.

The Congress is worried whether Tharoor could be hauled up for “abetting” the suicide. “It would be ruinous for us with the election just a few months away,” lamented an old Congressman. The worry has deepened with the case being transferred to the Crime Branch.

The facts emerging from time to time are however quite revealing. Pushkar’s body had over a dozen marks on her body, her hand had been bitten, and the staff of Tharoors allegedly said the couple had a fierce spat, in the morning of the day she was found dead. Did that spat lead Pushkar to commit suicide? If it turns out to be true Tharoor could be in trouble for abetment to suicide.

It also came out that Pushkar was diagnosed of suffering from Lupus, which destroys immune system and also had tuberculosis. Was she depressed because of her ailments and committed suicide.

A reliable source said that her son was rumoured to have taken to drugs because of which Pushkar was very depressed. And depression often makes one hyper. Did she in that hyper state fight with Tharoor, and get the marks while he fended her off?

One of her closest friends, Sridevi Badiga, a Dubai-based consultant who spent New Year’s Eve in Goa with Sunanda, admits her friend had “health issues” and sometimes chose to stay indoors during their Goa holiday. However, she adds that Sunanda was not someone who would take her own life. “What hurts me the most is people floating these drug overdose and suicide stories. It’s all bunkum. She was an extremely strong, fiercely independent and inspiring woman.”

But in the last few days, character certificates certifying that Tharoor could not have even thought of harming Sunanda, what to say of abetting in her suicide have been issued by Shiv Menon, her son, her brother and father. How far they would be of use to him has yet to be seen. The Crime Branch would hardly take note of them.

But it would be really tragic if the lovely couple’s romance gets tainted.


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