By Sushil Kutty
The mood in Uttar Pradesh is different from what it was before the last assembly elections. Things are at an unprecedented boiling point. Kashi, Mathura, Agra… Things happen with far-reaching implications. Before the elections, Asaduddin Owaisi of AIMIM called for the Muslim vote, stating that he alone cared about Muslims in Uttar Pradesh. The Uttar Pradesh Muslim vote bank claimants until then were Akhilesh Yadav and Behan Mayawati.
But when the results came in, Owaisi’s ‘I am a Muslim savior’ boast was shattered. Now, after the Gyanvapi Mosque is in danger of being sidelined by a temple scare, Owaisi is back in attendance, reiterating to all who will listen that he will not “lose a second mosque,” no, ever.
The AIMIM chief’s murderous instincts are bristling. Apart from the challenge, that he will not “lose a second mosque”, Owaisi’s renewed purpose is to try once again to install Owaisi as the sole savior of the Muslims of Uttar Pradesh and protector of the disputed mosques.
The fact is, this time, Owaisi is, in fact, the lone ranger against the “Gyanvapi takeover” by “five women and the system.” Where has Behan Mayawati disappeared to at this time of perhaps the best conditions in two decades to make a comeback “with a bang”?
The latest assembly elections had seen the near elimination of the Bahujan Samaj Party, largely because Mayawati was AWOL, and his Muslim vote base left his side to side with Akhilesh Yadav in his bid to kill the Bharatiya Janata Party.
That didn’t happen. The BJP cavorted with the government in its pocket. The Samajwadi Party also increased its tally and vote share, even as Owaisi’s AIMIM queued up and returned to the Charminar. But, of all the contestants and participants, the BSP and Mayawati lost the most. A large part of non-Jatav Dalits also left Mayawati.
Without Mayawati, BSP would slide into Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and other diseases. And now, when the BJP is up to their necks in squandering the “Muslim labarthi vote bank” by targeting medieval mosques, the four-time CM Mayawati is still MIA, and mom like the Egyptian mummy. Doesn’t Mayawati listen to the ‘azaan’, so much has happened, from hijab to halal to loudspeaker, with the Hanuman Chalisa making its inaugural entrance?
Where are you Behen Mayawati? In your absence, a movie actor turned independent political operative is making waves, singing the Hanuman Chalisa and challenging a CM like you once were. In his absence, the BJP seems to be full of oatmeal. In your MIA state, there seems to be no one missing that you are missing in action. No one even asks, “Who’s afraid of the elephant?” If that’s not contemptuous discharge, what is?
After the UP poll debacle, Behen Mayawati appeared on the podium once, addressing the party and the press, telling everyone in his stoic teak style that this was why the BSP lost and where the BSP would go. BSP in the months and years to come. . The people heard her and she returned to her silence. Now, when Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has his hands free to do as he sees fit, she Mayawati is nowhere to be seen or heard.
Also, Owaisi is making all the noise that Mayawati rightly should be making, to reinstate his credentials and reclaim the Muslim vote bank, which he lost to whoever came. Muslims at this time feel like they are orphans of both father and mother, and are ripe for adoption.
The voice of the Congress is so weak that it cannot be heard, and the Samajwadi Party led by Akhilesh Yadav has fought and fought again. This is when a leader with a mass following, like Behen Mayawati, should be on a roll, raising Cain over every real and imagined harm done to the people of Uttar Pradesh. If Muslims expect to be courted, Mayawati’s non-khatav Dalit vote bank is also looking for a leader.
But nothing seems to move Mayawati. It’s as if her mojo has left her and her words have left her. With each passing day, Mayawati finds it difficult to write a comeback. And, because she did not nurture or name a successor, the BSP would not last long after Mayawati. The most recognizable Dalit face after BR Ambedkar will fade into the fickle political carpentry. (IPA service)
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