Lucknow: Newly elected Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP from Amroha in Uttar Pradesh seems to be the biggest gainer of the JD(S)-Congress alliance in Karnataka struck late last year.
A close aide of Karnataka Chief Minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader HD Kumaraswamy, Ali not only managed a BSP ticket to contest from his hometown in western UP, he has now been named the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha.
However, the JD(S)-Congress alliance faced a major drubbing in Karnataka with the grand old party managing to win barely one of the 28 parliamentary seats, while all senior JD(S) leaders, including former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, lost from their constituencies.
Though one of Gowda’s grandsons Prajwal Revanna won from Hassan, his other grandchild and the chief minister’s son, Nikhil, lost from Mandya to Sumalatha Ambarish, a Congress rebel and Independent candidate supported by the BJP.
All the setbacks in Karnataka notwithstanding, Ali, who joined the BSP ahead of the election, won comfortably from Amroha taking full advantage of the SP-BSP grand alliance in the northern state.
Ali’s elevation is also seen as an attempt by the BSP to bring Muslim voters on its side ahead of 2022 assembly poll. Also, many believe that Ali would try to fill in the shoes of former BSP leader Naseemuddin Siddiqui as the party lacked a Muslim face ever since the latter left the party.
With the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party (SP) managing to win barely five Lok Sabha seats, the BSP has announced to go solo in all future elections.
Sources said the BSP would be working to retain its core voter base along with getting Muslim voters by its side on more than 200 of the 403 Assembly seats in UP.
The newly elected MPs of BSP have been already given the task to identify possibilities of social engineering in their respective constituencies. Sources said at a time when the SP is facing a downward graph (its vote percentage fell by 5% at 17.5%), the BSP leadership feels it would help in bringing Muslim voters closer ahead of the crucial election.
A senior BSP leader, “The party will depend on social engineering for the next state election with focus on Muslim voters. Many BSP leaders have already been assigned the task to work out a strategy in this direction. With this, we can easily get 200-plus seats.”
At the party’s national meeting in Lucknow on Sunday, Mayawati had allegedly said that the SP chief had advised her against giving tickets to Muslim candidates in the Lok Sabha election as it would lead to polarisation.
Earlier, during the first joint rally of the SP and BSP in Deoband, the BSP chief had openly appealed to the Muslim community not to split their votes. The Election Commission banned her from campaigning for two-days.
At present, the BSP has 19 MLAs in the UP Assembly, while the SP, which contested the last election in alliance with the Congress, won 47 seats and the Congress was reduced to six legislators.