BSP staying away from bypoll on Mayawati’s orders says party leader


Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has asked the party’s supporters to stay away from the bypoll to the Ghosi Assembly seat, voting for which will be held on Tuesday, a functionary has said. The by-election was necessitated following the resignation of Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA Dara Singh Chauhan, who joined the BJP. According to BSP chief Mayawati’s directions, leaders and workers are busy preparing for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Vishwanath Pal—the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit president—said on Monday. “Behanji (Mayawati) is our leader. Her orders are that we should completely stay away from the by-election. We have nothing to do with the bypoll and are preparing for the Lok Sabha elections,” he added. Voting for the Assembly seat will be held on Tuesday between 7 am and 6 pm, an official said. The counting of votes will be held on 8 September.
Chauhan is seeking re-election, this time on a BJP ticket and the Samajwadi Party is fielding Sudhakar Singh. This is the first electoral showdown between the BJP and an INDIA bloc constituent in Uttar Pradesh, with leaders of both sides going all out to drum up support for their candidates. Pal said, in an apparent reference to Chauhan’s move to the BJP, “Large-scale corruption is going on in the state by splitting MLAs. The anti-defection law was made so that such things do not happen. But, despite this, people have started a new thing.” “The MLA who has been elected for a five-year term is made to resign on allegations of corruption and then included in the party. After this, elections are held again and the burden of the expenditure is forced upon the public,” he added.
Pal said this was “not in the public interest” and added that the BSP boycotts such acts. Asked if the party cadre and supporters will boycott the bypoll, Pal said, “Behanji (Mayawati) is our leader and she has told us to completely stay away from the by-election. The public is being cheated and a conspiracy was hatched. When we are away from the election, where does the question of voting arise?” Pal added that Mayawati’s message has reached all party workers. “When our party is out of the election, how will we cast our votes?” he asked. The BSP won the Ghosi seat in the 1993 and the 2007 assembly elections. This time, while there are 10 candidates in the fray, the BSP has not fielded a candidate. While this will have no bearing on the current BJP government—which enjoys a comfortable majority in the 403-member House—its outcome is important as it comes just before next year’s Lok Sabha election and could be an indicator of what is in store.
Opposition INDIA bloc members Congress and the Left parties have thrown their weight behind the SP nominee. A win for the party will strengthen party chief Akhilesh Yadav’s position and role within the INDIA alliance and also seal his candidature for leading the bloc in the politically important state, which sends 80 MPs to the Lok Sabha. The ruling NDA recently inducted the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) and chief Om Prakash Rajbhar has been vigorously campaigning for the BJP candidate. According to estimates, of the nearly 4.38 lakh voters in Ghosi, 90,000 are Muslims, 60,000 Dalits and 77,000 from the upper castes—45,000 Bhumihars, 16,000 Rajputs and 6,000 Brahmins.