BSP uses rally as a counter-offensive against its rivals, SP and BSP
Lucknow: While other political parties have gone high-tech , the Bahujan Samaj Party, a force to reckon with in Uttar Pradesh, still depends on the conventional method to popularise the party and attract voters to improve its electoral prospects. The method is to hold rallies in different parts of the state on the eve of election . The Guinness Book of records’ label that the party is the best organiser of rallies may have something to do with it.
The party also sees to it that a massive crowd turns up at these rallies whatever may have to be done for them. Money, as party’s rivals point out , also plays a role on such occasions. The party’s rally on the occasion of the tenth death anniversary of its founder Kanshi Ram could be the first in the series till the election next year.
However, all the rallies of the party have neither been peaceful nor accident free. Two persons had died in stampede during the rally on Kanshi Ram’s tenth death anniversary . Two transport busses carrying supporters had overturned in 2007 during the “sankalp rally”. It had led to death of three persons. Before that in 2002 as many as 12 party workers were killed at Lucknow railway station.
Often these rallies are organised to make counter-attack the rivals. For instance, in 2002, a massive rally was organised to put the SP on the mat . Similarly, in 2004 , the party held a big rally after its honey-moon with the BJP was over.
This conclusion can be also drawn by past records of the party as far as rallies are concerned . For instance, the party had held more than a dozen rallies on the eve of the last assembly elections in 2012 . A Dalit thinker Dr Laljee Nirmal says that Dalits living in different parts of the state are generally drawn to these rallies.
Lately, however, the party leaders have emphasised on caste combination and invited non- dalits to the fold. Some leaders and workers in the party are opposed to the party joining hands with other castes but with only Dalit support the party is unlikely to achieve its goal and now and it is more than clear to the party chief Mayawati and some others. In other words, from the Bahujan it has become a Sarbasamaj party. Perhaps, she believes that it is the need of the hour.
The leaders holding a different view cite falling party percentage and believe that the new thinking in the party of enlarging the vote –base by roping in upper castes has not helped. For example, the overall voting percentage was over 30 in 2007 assembly elections which dropped to 25. 9 in the last assembly polls.
Also read: Kanshi Ram death anniversary: Mayawati’s mega rally in Lucknow