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Will Mayawati's quitting RS pay political dividends or remain just a gimmick? (News Analysis)

By Mohit Dubey
Lucknow, July 19 (IANS) Ever since Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati threw her final political trump card on Tuesday by quitting the Rajya Sabha over the issue of her inability to speak on atrocities being committed on Dalits, thr political grapevine in her home state is abuzz on her motive and the road ahead for her.

Having lost two successive elections to the BJP after her unceremonious exit from the state in 2007 by arch rival, the Samajwadi party (SP), her relevance in state politics is considerably diminished, as as has her political clout at the national level.

Observers feel that while her decision to resign was not taken in haste, there was a “political overtone” to it as the Dalit diva tried to win back her core constituency. In one stroke, her three-page resignation letter has not only brought her to the centre of opposition politics but has also made her emerge as the champion of the marginalised, both in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere, as they come under heavy attack from upper castes under the watch of the BJP governments in the states.

A senior aide confirmed to IANS that “Behenji” had been “plotting the masterstroke for some time now” and that it was “the timing which was the only thing left to the right moment”. She has some 10 months left in her present term and her likely comeback with her diminished party numbers in the UP state assembly (19 legislators) was not possible.

But by championing the cause of the Dalits, she has endeared herself to many opposition parties, who, in the absence of courage and credibility, have so far not been able to take on the might of the Narendra Modi government at the centre. Sources told IANS that beleaguered Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad telephoned Mayawati on Tuesday and offered to send her to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar.

Most people here feel that the Dalit leader was “enacting a written script to come across as one who sacrificed the perks of power to champion the Dalit cause”. Rajiv Ranjan Jha, a senior political commentator who covered Mayawati for a very long time felt “Behen ji was making a political gimmick as she was increasingly getting irrelevant in Dalit politics”.

Jha pointed out that the proactive romancing of Dalits by the BJP, as proven by naming Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit from UP, as its pick for the next president, the saffron camp was endearing itself to the Dalits. Many agree. Maywati has so far lost many non-Jatavs to the BJP and only the 18 per cent of the community continue to cling to her and the BSP. He turn seriously compromised, the BSP supremo, through her resignation, seemingly is baiting those from her constituency who have deserted her.

Mayawati drew a duck in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and managed only 19 seats in the 2017 assembly polls. Many here also feel that she is also returning to her initial days of combative politics when she took political battles to the turf of her opponents. Muscle flexing of this type made her the favorite of the oppressed until she was termed “daulat ki beti” (daughter of wealth) rather than “Dalit ki beti” (daughter of the Dalits.

There are also unconfirmed reports that Maywati is mulling contesting the state by- polls against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath when he contests from a seat of choice. Adityanath, who continues to be Lok Sabha MP from Gorakhpur, has a little less than two months to become a member of the UP Assembly. If she does indeed go ahead with the plan, Mayawati may find herself pitchforked to the centre of the political spectrum in the state and may regain lost ground.

(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at [email protected])

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