Uttar Pradesh: Key Issues : The anti-incumbency wave against BSP
Assembly Elections
UP Issue
The anti-incumbency wave against BSP
BSP won 206 seats in 2007 and seized power by dethroning Samajwadi Party (SP) government led by Mulayam Singh Yadav on its own. At that time, people were fed up with the deteriorating law and order situation and criminalisation of politics in the state.

Voters chose Mayawati as the best possible alternative; breaking barriers of caste and community. However, this time around, things are pretty different. Mayawati may not be the people’s favourite anymore. Several ministers are facing inquiries by the Lokayukta making the government vulnerable to opposition attacks. Mayawati has denied tickets to around a hundred sitting MLAs in a desperate attempt to fight off anti-incumbency and to improve her party’s image.

The BSP is trying to make the best of a bad situation. Party leaders have been challenging rivals by putting forward the ‘action’ taken by Chief Minister Mayawati against her ministers. BSP leaders feel that this would help Mayawti in fighting anti-incumbency and countering rivals on the issue of corruption; and also help strengthen the party’s cadre base by sending a message that their voices are being heard.

Moreover, as many of the sacked ministers and MLAs have joined other parties, it has given BSP ammunition to counterattack the naysayers. BSP leaders are of opinion that anti-incumbency is not only against the government but also against the sitting MLAs, hence new candidates fielded in place of those denied ticket will have a better chance to win.

However, anti-incumbency is not the only factor which worries Mayawati. The BSP does have a loyal voter base in Dalits but what had tilted the scales in her favour, last time around, was the support of upper castes, especially the Brahmins.

This time around, a resurgent BJP is reclaiming the upper caste voters, thereby making the going tough for the Elephant.

As plan B, Mayawati has fielded more Muslims than any other party. But it would a tougher nut to crack given the dedicated wooing of the community by the Samajwadi Party and the Congress.

However, Mayawati does have an ace up her sleeve in form of her plan to divide UP into four smaller states.

Mayawati, clearly, faces the challenge of scoring a double century if she wants to retain the reins of power. But whether her Dalit icon status and social engineering formula will be enough to sail through is the big question.
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Date of Poll - Phase 1 08.02.12 (Wednesday)
Date of Poll - Phase 2 11.02.12 (Saturday)
Date of Poll - Phase 3 15.02.12 (Wednesday)
Date of Poll - Phase 4 19.02.12 (Sunday)
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