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BSP in bind over Dalit youth connect in UP

Lucknow, April 28 (IANS) Midway though the Lok Sabha elections, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in Uttar Pradesh is caught in a bind.

The party has failed to create a plan to reach out to youth voters who now form a sizeable segment of its vote bank.

The BSP has failed to effectively establish its presence on the social media and does not encourage individual leaders to do the same.

“All other political parties are going full steam on the social media but the BSP does not go beyond official statements for which Mayawati has her own Twitter handle. Party leaders are not allowed to promote the party on the social media and our meetings are not streamed live,” said a party functionary.

BSP leaders are apparently worried that they may lose out on youth support due to faulty political strategy.

The BSP has been on the downslide in this decade. After losing power in the 2012 Assembly elections, the party drew a complete blank in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and then managed to win only 19 seats in a house of 403 in the 2017 Assembly polls.

“The social media is now an important part of campaigning, especially among youth, but the BSP does not believe so. This is going to be a major disadvantage for us.” confessed the party functionary.

What is adding to the BSP’s worries is the fact that the Bhim Army is marching ahead, creating footprints’ among Dalit youth. After being initially soft towards the BSP, Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar has now launched a full blown war against Mayawati after she accused him of being a ‘BJP agent’.

Chandra Shekhar has accused the BSP of giving 42 per cent of seats to upper caste candidates who form barely 16 per cent of the population.

He said that the upper caste should have been given seats in proportion to their population. “Till now 16 of the 38 seats announced by the BSP have been given to the upper caste which comes to almost 42 per cent,” he pointed out.

He also asked: “Now where will the OBC, Dalits and Muslims go? The BSP is now a party of moneybags with huge bank balances.”

He said the only reason why he and others like him were silent was that they wanted to save the Bahujan movement and considered Mayawati to have been a pioneer. “But she is wavering from the basic ideology of the party.”

Chandra Shekhar’s allegations are flooding the social media and there has been no effort to counter the same from the BSP.

A BSP candidate from eastern UP admitted that the party faced a major disadvantage because of its failure to connect with the youth.

“Today I feel that I have already lost the elections because my party does not address issues related to youth or even connect with them. The BJP, which is very active on the social media, is making things worse,” he said.

–IANS

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