National

Why Mayawati's Village Is Still Hopeful About BSP's Future

A section of the public in Badalpur, Mayawati's birthplace, holds a soft corner for her, despite their grouses with the new crop of BSP leaders and her 'unapproachable' attitude

Km. Mayawati Girls Inter College
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For octogenarian Rajpal Singh, this summer has proven to be a dampner not only for its searing daytime temperature, close to 40 degrees C, but also the fact that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has come down to a single seat. Singh is the paternal cousin of party president Mayawati and lives adjacent to her old house at Badalpur in Dadri, Gautam Buddha Nagar, which is her birthplace. 

“Modi-Yogi knows some magic,” Singh believes this is the prime reason behind Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory. “People are talking about free ration, but who is getting it? We are not getting it.” Singh says Mayawati developed this region, and Dalits here still support her. “Whatever development you see—inter-college, polytechnic college, the roads—Behenji made them.”

However, Singh is unhappy with how unapproachable Mayawati has become, and thinks that she has forgotten her roots. “People say, ‘you are from Mayawati’s family, she must be giving you money’. She has not done anything for my family. We are still labourers, working daily. Whatever she does, it is for herself and her immediate family. It is painful that she does not care about her own people.” Despite these issues, Singh says he will support her till his last breath. “I can’t see now, and I am waiting for death. But all my life I supported the BSP and will continue to do so.”
 

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Dhirendra (left) along with others in a shop in Badalpur village. Suresh K Pandey

Even the youth in Badalpur are wary of new leadership. “Why are Akash Anand and Satish Chandra Mishra handling important positions? They don’t know how to reach out to people. You can’t win elections by campaigning only in elections,” a youth tells Outlook. “Dadri used to be a sure seat of Mayawati, but now BJP won it. It is because the [BSP] leadership does not understand what people want,” says Bhagmal Singh, who lives two houses away from Mayawati. Here, there are 60-70 houses of Dalits dominated by the Jatav caste that Mayawati belongs to. The Jatav caste is said to be the core vote bank of BSP, but dejection and frustration is palpable among the Jatav youth here. “We are emotionally connected to Behenji, but she does not meet anybody. We cannot remember when she last visited this village,” says another youth.

Badalpur is a Gurjar dominated village, and the Gurjar community considers Mayawati to be a strong face. Dhirendra, a 46-year-old man, who saw the rise and fall of BSP from his teenage years, says, “We have been worshipping Mayawati from the start. But she must have a relook at the leadership. The current leadership is incompetent, and people are losing trust. If you check the data, there is not a big difference in vote share from the last election. BSP is still popular here because Mayawati has done a lot for us. Nobody can deny that. However, this village alone cannot decide the result of the election, and BSP must work to retain popularity.”

The aged population in the village remembers those days when BSP was gaining prominence in UP politics. “There was a time when BSP had big leaders and unity with all castes,” says Kamla Bai Nagar, a Gurjar villager. “We are not happy with the BJP or SP, and still support BSP. But what option do we have?” Pointing in the direction of some BSP-built structures, including Mayawati’s bungalow, she says, “If Mayawati only cares about herself, people will feel dejected. Still, this village will not stop loving her. She is the daughter of this village and has done a lot for us. Her victory is our victory.”

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