Bhartiya Samajwadi Party national president and former chief minister Mayawati is preparing to launch herself as a potential Opposition candidate for the prime ministerial post for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
BSP has given a clear indication that Mayawati will contest the Lok Sabha election from any safe seat. She had resigned from Rajya Sabha on the issue of Dalit pride.
It was not just a coincidence that the party meeting of coordinators passed a resolution seeking projection of Mayawati as a potential prime minister. For, nothing moves in the party without the express directive of Mayawati. Nobody is authorised to speak in public or to the media without her permission. Even a powerful leader like Satish Mishra MP has to seek permission from Mayawati to speak on any issue. She did not object to the resolution being passed at the meeting.
The BSP supremo removed powerful leader and national coordinator Jaiprakash from the party and all posts when he exceeded his limit and talked about the foreign origin of Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul Gandhi. By removing Jaiprakash she has made it clear that BSP was open for an alliance with Congress in other states as well as during the forthcoming elections.
The bonhomie between Mayawati and Sonia Gandhi during and the oath-taking ceremony of Karnataka chief minister was not lost on anyone attending the event. It was during her stay in Bangalore that all the senior leaders from Opposition visited Mayawati to seek her support in UP and other states.
Mayawati hogged the limelight when she entered into an alliance with Samajwadi Party and defeated BJP in the by-elections for three Lok Sabah and one assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh. With the backing of more than 20% votes, her consistent attack on the BJP government at the centre and in UP sounds increasingly credible and BSP is seen as a force to reckon with in national politics.
It is this realisation that eggs her on to nurse national ambitions as she is keen to enter into alliance with national and regional parties all over the country. In fact, after the defeat of BJP in the UP by-elections, the demand for BSP tickets has gone up. So much so there is panic in the BJP camp as a substantial number of sitting MPs are said to be in touch with BSP leaders.
There is a feeling among these MPs that there is a strong anti-incumbency factor working against the Modi government at the Centre as well as the Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh; so it would be better to manage a ticket from BSP as the party would be part of any grand alliance against the saffron brigade in 2019 Lok Sabah polls.
Mayawati has asked her party leaders to refrain from making any derogatory remark against political leader and that they should not talk about any alliance. She seems to be in no hurry to enter into any arrangement straightaway as she weighs her options before announcing a decision on any alliance. Most probably, she would disclose her cards only after the announcement of elections, whether for the states or for the Lok Sabah.
Every step or statement of Mayawati is being watched by both the ruling party and Opposition leaders to see how effectively she plays the Dalit card. But there is no doubt that she would use it to maximum advantage when it comes to the prime ministerial issue if the Opposition parties make the numbers.
(Author is a senior journalist)