Mayawati Faces Backlash: Muslims Reject Blame for BSP’s Election Debacle

Muslim voters in Uttar Pradesh, praised for their strategic voting, have shown a shift towards the Congress and the SP, rejecting the “fear-based politics” of regional parties.
Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati addressing a press conference
Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati addressing a press conferencePhoto Credit: X

New Delhi: Mayawati’s statement, blaming Muslims for the humiliating debacle of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, did not go down well the community — which dares her to say so about her party’s core support base (the Dalits).

Reacting to the poll results, which were announced on June 4, she stated that the Muslim community did not support her party despite having significant representation among the candidates.

She remarked that the community did not understand her party, and she would only consider including them in future elections after “a lot of thought”.

Senior journalist Mohammad Ali, who writes on Uttar Pradesh’s politics, said Myawati is facing the worst existential crisis because of her own mistakes.

“Statement like this shows nothing but her frustration. Even a blind man would have guessed that no one will waste their vote for the losing side. Not only Muslims, but even her own core support base is not with her anymore. Substantial part of Dalit votes has apparently gone to the Samajwadi Party-Congress INDIA alliance,” he told The Mooknayak.

If the BSP chief is criticising Muslims, he said, she should also hold the politically crucial Dalits as well. “If Mayawati criticises Muslims, she should also criticise Dalits, as her core support base has also abandoned her. It is easy for her to make them scapegoats for her political blunders. I am waiting for the moment she criticizes the Jatavs for deserting her,” he concluded.

This is not the first time the BSP has failed to win a seat in general elections. It did not secure any seats in 2014 and only won 10 seats in 2019 due to an alliance with the Samajwadi Party.

The BSP had fielded 35 Muslim candidates.

Mayawati’s former ally, Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, broke through the BJP stronghold by securing 37 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. His INDIA bloc ally, the Congress, won six seats, including Amethi and Rae Bareli.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had seen landslide victories in the last two general elections, managed to win only 33 seats in the state. Nationally, they secured 240 seats, falling 32 seats short of a simple majority, down from 303 seats in 2019.

Before the elections, the Samajwadi Party and the Congress had invited Mayawati to join the INDIA bloc, but she rejected their overtures.

Accusing her of being absent from ground for the past five years and allegedly maintaining silence on issues of people’s concerns, Reyaz Hashmi, a senior journalist based in western Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district, said Mayawati wants to blame Muslims for her failures is “unfair”.

“She never showed up in constituencies after successive losses in 2014 and 2019 elections and chose to remain tight-lipped on critical issues but wanted Muslims to vote for her. Isn’t it funny? She even failed to consolidate her voters,” he said, adding that “Muslims are not bounded labourers of any political party”.

Instead of indulging in “blame game”, he concluded, Behenji (elder sister) must introspect and conduct an honest analysis to find out what led to her party’s debacle.

Shahnawaz Alam, head of the Congress minority cell in Uttar Pradesh, praised the state's Muslims for engaging in “tactical voting” and moving away from “negative politics”.

“Recently, there has been a positive shift in Muslim politics in Uttar Pradesh. Previously, Muslims voted to prevent the BJP's victory, but now they vote to ensure a win for the Congress. This change has upset regional parties that relied on instilling fear of the BJP to secure Muslim support. The community eventually recognized this tactic and started voting for their own representation. The results in UP are evident for all to see,” he said.

Dr Satish Prakash, a Dalit intellectual and professor of physics at Meerut College, supported Mayawati’s statement, emphasizing that while Islam promotes brotherhood and has no caste system, in India, the religion has been heavily influenced by the Hindu caste system because 95% of the Muslim population are converts from Hinduism.

“In India, religious conversions happen, but the converts often retain their original caste identities. Consequently, upper-caste Hindus who converted to Islam became upper-caste Muslims, and lower-caste Hindus became lower-caste Muslims. Although they share mosques, inter-caste marriages are rare, and their political consciousness is shaped by Hindu upper-caste ideologies. Just as upper-caste Hindus resist Dalit leadership, upper-caste Muslims also struggle to accept it. This upper-caste influence may explain why, despite significant representation in elections, Muslims keep distance from Dalit leadership,” he told The Mooknayak.

He said the BSP has consistently given substantial representation to Muslims, appointing them as ministers and MLCs in its government. The party established a minority commission in Uttar Pradesh and set up an Arabic and Persian university. “Despite these efforts, the Muslim community has not accepted Mayawati as its leader,” he said, adding that “it is unfortunate that the community still aligns itself with parties like the Congress and the SP, even though most communal riots occurred under their governments”.

He said the BJP’s treatment of the community mirrors what the Congress did before independence. “There were no riots during BSP rule. Akhilesh Yadav speaks of social justice but opposed reservation bill and indulged in reverse conversion of Dalits. The Muslim community needs to consider whether they want to support the oppressors or the party that aims to provide them with political representation,” he concluded.

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