Lucknow: With an eye on the Centre, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) is focusing to make its strategy of ‘social engineering’ work in the Lok Sabha elections given the dividend it got from the formula during the 2004 polls in Uttar Pradesh.
“Of the total 543 Lok Sabha seats in the country 120 are reserved including 79 for SC candidates, which comprises our traditional Dalit vote bank. Of these 79, 17 seats are in the Uttar Pradesh alone. Besides others, the party is focusing on these seats spread across the country. We feel that these seats could be won if social engineering formula works”, a senior party leader said.
In 2004 Lok Sabha polls, BSP won only five — Misrikh, Akbarpur, Barabanki, Basti and Robertsganj — out of 17 reserved parliamentary seats in the state and was placed second in 11 constituencies and came third in only one place.
“Keeping this in mind, the party feels that it could do better in this election if its social engineering formula worked to its favour”, he said.
The party feels that division of Dalit votes on reserved seats gave it set backs in previous elections. According to the BSP leader the upper caste and people of backward communities turned the tide on BSP candidates in 2004 and voted for parties like Congress, BJP and even Samajwadi Party. “But this time the mood is upbeat with Mayawati at helm of affairs in the state”, he said.
The BSP leader said under the social engineering formula which helped the party gain power in the state in 2007 Assembly polls, the party has formed committees of various castes including Brahmins, Muslims, Kushwaha, Pal-Baghel, Nishad, Bind and Kashyap and senior party leaders were assigned to moblise the community in BSP’s favour.
While the state advisory council (SAC) chairman Satish Chandra Mishra was assigned the task of moblising Brahmins, another influential cabinet minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui worked among Muslims, cabinet ministers like Babu Singh Kushwaha and Swami Prasad Maurya were also pressed into service for wooing electorates of their own caste.
The party, however, has been concentrating mainly on Brahmins and Dalits. “This is the reason the party held Brahmin and Dalit sammelans across the state. In fact the Brahmin sammelans were launched from Rahul Gandhi’s bastion Amethi,” the leader said.
“We have organised a number of Bhaichara sammelans of different castes and all those evoked tremendous response. We expect our formula of social engineering will work,” a party leader said.
In 2002 assembly election, the party won 21 out of 89 reserved seats (all for SC) in the state, while in 2007 the party tally on these seats increased to 62 after it adopted social engineering formula.