Apparently unnerved by the growing popularity of the Bhim Army among the Dalit youth, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has now decided to give maximum number of tickets to the youth in the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
The party has already given the responsibility of wooing Brahmin youth to Kapil Mishra, son of BSP MP Satish Chandra Mishra.
BSP President Mayawati’s nephew Akash Anand will be given the responsibility of bringing in youth from Dalit communities.
In the past two years, when the Covid pandemic set in, the BSP has been absent from the ground.
Chandra Shekhar Azad, the Bhim Army chief, on the other hand, has been extensively touring the state during the pandemic.
He has been visiting every Dalit family that has been victimised or tormented in recent months.
He was seen actively supporting the Hathras family of the Dalit girl who was allegedly raped and later died.
The BSP leaders did not even visit the family to offer their support.
“The youth today is much more aware and smarter than it was 20 years ago. They understand which leader and which party is working for them and standing by them. The BSP, under Mayawati, has stopped reaching out to people at the grassroot levels. One the other hand, Chandra Shekhar has been leading from the front and connecting with the youth. It is natural that the young generation feels disconnected from the BSP,” a senior party said on the condition of anonymity.
Mayawati, meanwhile, has reportedly asked party coordinators to look for new and young faces for the assembly elections.
However, she has asked them to be sure of their loyalty towards the party before recommending their candidature.
“Who can take guarantee of someone else’s loyalty in these times when even the father and son have different political choices,” said a party zonal coordinator.
The biggest hurdle in reaching out to the Dalit youth that the BSP is facing, is the total absence of second rung Dalit leaders in the party.
While the majority have been thrown out of the party, the rest have left for greener pastures.
“The party does not have a Dalit leader of stature who can take a call in the absence of Mayawati. In such a situation, newcomers feel uncomfortable because they do not know whom to rely upon,” said a party MLA.