Mainpuri, Khatauli bypolls show up BJP’s slippery grip on Dalit votes
The results of the by-elections to Mainpuri Lok Sabha and Khatauli Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh made it apparent that the BJP failed to win Dalit votes, which is being considered a big challenge for the upcoming elections.
Lucknow: The results of the by-elections to Mainpuri Lok Sabha and Khatauli Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh made it apparent that the BJP failed to win Dalit votes, which is being considered a big challenge for the upcoming elections.
The candidates from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Congress, however did not contest in these elections.
According to the data from political parties, there are around 1.5 Dalit voters in Mainpuri which were dominated by the BSP.
Gradually, the party’s hold on the votes weakened, which divided the voters and resulted in the BSP winning only one seat in the 2022 Assembly elections.
The results of the by-elections also made it clear that the party with the Dalit voters’ support ends up winning the polls.
According to election data, there are more than 50,000 Dalit voters in Khatauli seat.
Rashtriya Lok Dal’s (RLD) Jayant Singh and Samajwadi Party’s Akhilesh Yadav devised a strategy to gain the Dalit votes in the seat, wherein a combination of Jats, Gurjars and Dalits was seen.
Azad Party Chief Chandrashekhar Azad also contested to focus on the Dalits.
The BJP suffered huge losses with a direct breach in the vote bank after the alliance of the RLD, the SP and Azad’s party.
In the by-elections, Azad has been seen several times on SP platforms openly campaigning for the SP and RLD candidates, unlike in the assembly elections.
According to experts, the alliance candidates have secured votes in almost every village of the Khatauli seat. The alliance won 44 booths, while the BJP could win only 25.
Experts believe that the saffron party selected the wrong candidates for the seat whose behaviour harmed its chances of winning.
Many BJP leaders worked to win the Dalit votes but failed due to the alliance’s social engineering.
Senior political analyst Rajendra Singh said that due to non-availability of BSP candidates in the seat, the alliance roped in Azad Samaj Party’s Chandrashekhar and reached out to every village.
According to a senior SP worker, Mainpuri benefited from sympathy for late SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and development, along with Akhilesh Yadav’s strategy and village visits.
Apart from this, a team of Dalit and cadre leaders from the SP was created who reminded the villagers of the Constitution and the work done by Mulayam Singh and got the votes in their favour, resulting in the party’s huge victory.
BJP district Presidents could not prevent the SP from winning in their own booths.
Senior political analyst P.N. Dwivedi said that the role of Dalit votes in SP’s victory in Mainpuri could not be denied.
He added that a strong combination of Muslim, Gurjar, Jat and Dalit votes was responsible for BJP’s loss.
The BSP distanced itself from the by-elections and the Dalits turned towards the alliance after it gained Chandrashekhar’s support, he added.
Dwivedi said that the BJP would have to devise a new strategy for gaining Dalit votes to achieve success.