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Mayawati's gambit of resigning from the Rajya Sabha
In a sudden turn of events, BSP chief Mayawati decided to resign from the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday giving the plea that she had not been allowed by the treasury bench to speak on the victimisation of Dalits.

On July 18, during the session, she walked out first and submitted a long resignation application blaming the ruling BJP for insulting her and muzzling her voice inside the Rajya Sabha. All the opposition parties supported her as a mark of solidarity and also demonstrated a mass walkout from the Rajya Sabha.

Was Mayawati really insulted?

After going through the repeat telecast of the proceedings and detailed media reports, one thing was for sure that her allegation that BJP members stopped her from speaking is not true. 

Yes, there are some members who opposed/challenged some of the points raised by Mayawati. But such interruptions are very common in Parliamentary proceedings. In fact, whenever some ruling party member debates or a minister answers, opposition heckles in a much higher degree than in the manner Mayawati was interrupted. 

The proceeding clearly proves that the trigger point of her outburst was when the deputy chairman cautioned her that she had already consumed her time and needed to cut-short her speech. Deputy Chairman just reminded her about the law and Mayawati responded that if she is not allowed to talk (as long as she wants) then she will quit the Rajya Sabha. Thus, blaming the treasury bench is an afterthought and this is mostly agreeable by all.

Did Mayawati over-react?

Some believe that may be Mayawati overreacted. The reason they cite is that Mayawati had nearly nine months of tenure left and there was no chance of a re-election as she doesn't have the numbers (for a re-election BSP needs 34 seats in the Assembly where as she has just 19 MLAs). 

The Saharanpur incident made her emotionally agitated, thus, she couldn't realise what she was doing. That's why perhaps she submitted a long resignation letter which was later accepted by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

But I would prefer to disagree with her for many reasons. First, she is a seasoned, matured and experienced politician. She doesn't do anything in a knee-jerk reaction. Throughout her political carrier it's noticed that whenever she loses the Assembly election, she immediately comes to the Rajya Sabha. 

Then, re-election for her should never have been a problem as the desperate opposition was always there to bail her out. Not to forget that the BSP despite depleting political power mustered 22 per cent vote share in the 2017 UP Assembly election. 

Where even two per cent of vote share is minutely counted, I don't see any problem for Mayawati's re-election to the RS. 

Regarding the Saharanpur violence, every sane person including Mayawati herself knows that the animosity between Thakurs and Dalits is very old and the BJP had no role in it. Besides, Saharanpur has traditionally been a political hot ground where SP and BSP have fought tooth and nail against each other. Thakurs are supporter of the SP and Dalits are BSP supporters. The recent violence was in fact triggered after Mayawati's visit to Saharnpur. Thus, I think that Mayawati's resignation was a planned one.

If it was planned then what's her gambit?

First let's try to understand, why Mayawati won't benefit from a united grand opposition? If the grand opposition becomes a reality, the Congress will benefit from it at the national level and the SP at state level. However, BSP and Mayawati will only play second fiddle in the grand alliance. This won't be acceptable for Mayawati considering her tall stature after having served as the CM of UP several times. She knows very well that in the grand opposition, Akhilesh Yadav-led SP will gain more prominence than her. Thus, she has no future playing a secondary role.

Should Mayawati ally with the BJP? 

One thing that must be noted is that it was the BJP that mainly ate into Mayawati's traditional vote bank. Out of the 79 SC seats of UP Assembly, BSP could win only two seats whereas the BJP won 75 seats. The entire non-Jatav community abandoned her and joined the BJP. Thus, her allying with the BJP  is in no way going to be helpful in her political career. So, her first objectives will be to win back her lost vote bank of the Dalit community. If she is able to bring back the Dalits into her fold, she will once again become the most important political alternative in UP and the BSP would once again dictate terms. That's why she has started blaming the BJP for getting back her lost vote bank.

Can Mayawati bring back non-Jatav Dalits into her fold?

In politics nothing is impossible. However, Mayawati must first analyse why the Dalits failed her. The point to be noted here is that despite the allegations against her everyone will agree that Mayawati is perhaps the second tallest leader for the Dalits after Baba Sahib Ambedkar. In spite her statue spree the Dalits still feel proud of her. If she sincerely makes efforts she can definitely win back the confidence of the Dalits. But then, she has to ask herself, why the Dalits especially non-Jatavs left her?

Post the Muzafarpur riots, there was a long lasting animosity between the Jats, non-Jatav Dalits and the Muslims. Since 2014, Mawayati had been taking it for granted that the entire Dalit community will support her. That's what compelled her to indulge in excessive minority appeasement politics. This created dissidency among the Dalits. They couldn't go to the SP or the Congress, so they found solace with the lesser evil BJP. I understand that for electoral politics one has to work out some equations. Mayawati would have also done the same with her Dalit-Muslim equation very carefully without hurting the sentiments of any community.

Anyways, the work at Mayawati's hand now would be to first bring back the Dalit leaders who quit the BSP. Then, she would have to work at the ground very diligently. However, she should avoid imitating Rahul Gandhi's token politics. She needs to be reminded how she and late Kanshi Ram had worked very hard to unite the Dalit community (snatching them mainly from the Congress) and made the party very big. If she works hard, I don't see any reason why Mayawati can't restore her vote bank by the 2019 general election. It's not the time for her to sit at Delhi remaining a RS member. Rather, it's time for party rebuilding.

Although I have much reservations against Mayawati as a politician, but then, I also appreciate her for uniting the oppressed community and making them a strong political force. I also believe that the Dalits instead of seeking mercy from other communities/leaders/powerful people, should be a force of reckoning in this vibrant democracy. I wish Mayawati all the success.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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