ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mayawati and Maharashtra: Preparing the Ground

It is inevitable that Mayawati would attempt to replicate the Bahujan Samaj Party’s tremendous success in Uttar Pradesh in other states too. So ahead of the 2009 assembly elections in Maharashtra, her party workers have already started forming 11-member ‘bhaichara samitis’ (brotherhood committees) in every Lok Sabha constituency in the state. Lower OBCs, marathas, Muslims and brahmins are the target groups.

The BSP’s connection with Maharashtra goes back to the mid-1960s when its founder Kanshi Ram worked at the department of defence production in Pune and got involved in the agitations of the scheduled caste employees that finally led to the All India Backward and Minority Employees Federation (BAMCEF). Interestingly, it was Kanshi Ram who popularised Babasaheb Ambedkar’s legacy in the Hindi heartland where it was almost unknown among the dalits.The BSP’s symbol of an elephant sketched in blue on a white background is now a familiar image on Maharashtra’s electoral scene. Though the party only has a lone corporator in the Mumbai civic body, it contested 46 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in 2004 and while they all forfeited their security deposits they collected 10.46 lakh votes between them.

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