As in the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP), heads have begun to roll in the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), too, after its tally in UP was reduced from 20 in 2009 to a zero this time. BSP chief Mayawati has dissolved all committees, sacked all district and division level party office-bearers and kicked out all five co-ordinators of the different zones of the state.
The BSP chief made the announcements at a election review meeting with party leaders and vanquished candidates at the party's state headquarters here on Tuesday. She also made it clear that she was all set to make a fresh beginning, asserting the original pro-Dalit theme for which the party was founded by her late mentor Kanshi Ram.
Party insiders say the demand is growing within the party to hand out similar punishment to the BSP's leading lights including national general secretaries Satish Chandra Mishra and Naseemuddin Siddiqui, and state president Ram Achal Rajbhar. Though no one in the party has the temerity to voice any such demand before the Dalit leader, party sources say the sentiment has been conveyed to her and she could take a harsh decision on this soon.
"At this juncture, it's important to establish her position as the undisputed leader of the party and to send out a strong message to the party's base votebank of Dalits that the BSP is not diluting its original pro-Dalit theme by giving importance to Brahmins," a senior party leader said.
In her almost two-hour-long address at the meeting, Mayawati revealed her analysis about what had gone wrong for the party in the elections. "The main reason for our defeat in UP was that the votes of non-misssionary Muslims, backward castes and upper castes went to either BJP or SP. They got carried away by the lies and misleading statements made by leaders of these two parties," she said.
However, she asserted that the Dalit vote had stood by the BSP like a "solid rock", though political analysts largely believe that this vote also swayed towards the BJP and was the single-most important reason for the BSP ending up with a cipher. (BSP got 19.6 per cent vote in UP this election.)
"The NDA has got only 31% vote. This is for the first time that a Central government will be formed even after about 70% of the people have rejected it," she said, using her own logic in an obviously desperate bid to boost the morale of her crestfallen party cadres.
Mayawati told her party that there was no need to lose heart despite the crushing defeat. "We will carry the movement of Dr BR Ambedkar with even more vigour now," she said, making it clear that the BSP's political path would now be clearly guided by pro-Dalit policies, keeping away from the "sarvajan" experiment which essentially gave primacy to upper castes at the cost of the Scheduled Castes and lower OBCs.