The Lok Sabha election results have not ceased having an effect on India’s political landscape—like a temblor with many aftershocks. Opposition parties still seem to be in post-traumatic shock everywhere. But there’s an unusual churn in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, and one party is not wasting any time in trauma ward. Unlike her counterparts—most of whom are still groping in the dark after the electoral drubbing—BSP supremo Mayawati has been making some quick moves to cut her losses and revive her career. An astute leader, she knows things are getting desperate for her party, and the 2022 assembly polls will be crucial for her. She has embarked on a revival plan for BSP, starting off by summarily snapping ties with the Samajwadi Party and then, in the middle of a burst of controlled acrimony, inducting her brother and nephew into the party’s power hierarchy.
Her decision to call off the much-ballyhooed mahagathbandhan with the SP, which came barely two weeks after the results, did not come as a surprise to many. She is known for her flip-flops: some observers feel it was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, while others feel it was always part of Mayawati’s plan to branch out solo after surviving the Lok Sabha elections in alliance. Contrary to expectations, the alliance had failed to make any significant impact. The logic of caste aggregation was turned on its head, and the BSP could win only 10 of the 38 seats it contested, while SP won five out of 37.