Bangalore: She may not be a very common face in Karnataka, but UP Chief Minister Mayawati’s maya is catching on.
The Bahujan Samaj Party plans to contest in all the 224 constituencies this election and Mayawati will be going on four campaign tours across Karnataka.
Last time she visited the state in December, she gathered huge crowds.
BSP National General Secretary, PGR Sindhia says, “After Mayawati became CM, I’ve found even upper caste communities - Vokkaligas, Veerashaivas, Brahmins - are favouring the BSP. Once against BSP, now they’re not hostile anymore.”
The BSP has never won a single seat in Karnataka in the past. But the party is seen as a threat to Congress prospects.
Most analysts say that in the last elections the Congress lost nearly 40 seats because the BSP spilt the Dalit vote.
The Congress is on the defensive.
“All votes that BSP gets is not Congress votes alone. There are the independent votes, the BJP votes other parties too. That does not mean, one political party contesting as a candidate they can defeat Congress alone. They can defeat other parties too,” says AICC Secretary, Vayalar Ravi
Agrees Karnataka Congress President, Mallikarjuna Kharge, “There’s no question of gaining more. Either they may retain that base or it will be reduced further.”
The BSP on its part is looking at Karnataka to get a foothold in the south.
Earlier Karnataka has always seen a three-cornered battle between the Congress, the BJP and the JD(S).
But the BSP factor could now add a new dimension - splitting votes and even leading to another hung Assembly.
Politics has proved time and again in this state that king-makers can be more powerful than kings themselves.