How 'underdog' BSP bit BJP hard in Uttar Pradesh
Thanks to Dayashankar Singh's uncouth remark, Mayawati got back her lost plank among Dalit voters.
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Every dog has its day. Even the "underdog"!
On July 21, thousands of enraged workers of the Bahujan Samaj Party descended on roads of Lucknow and brought the city to a standstill.
Shouting slogans and demanding the immediate arrest of BJP's Dayashankar Singh, the BSP supporters gathered at the Ambedkar statue in Hazratganj.
But among the many slogans being shouted by thousands of angry supporters, one was clearly most resounding: "Dayashankar kutta hai".
Of the many placards at display, one was unmistakably most visible: "Dayashankar kutte ko giraftaar karo".
Dog, the best friend of man, seems to also have become the most favourite adjective in politics these days.Dayashankar Singh, former BJP UP vice-president. (PTI)
When used properly, it can spice up a statement and have very desirable effect.
Like Asaduddin Owaisi showed his command over the use of this tricky word and got many compliments when he said: "ISIS militants are dogs from hell. I will cut them into thousand pieces."
But the BJP is learning it the hard way that a dog bite can hurt badly and the pain can come back to haunt it again and again.
Like it is happening now, thanks to Dayashankar Singh.
Yesterday in Lucknow, leader after leader of the BSP could be seen reminding people on the loudspeakers how VK Singh, who compared Dalits to dogs, still continues to be part of Modi's ministry.
Nasimuddin Siddiqui, the senior BSP leader was thundering: "This is not Dayashankar who has spoken these dirty words; it reflects the real thoughts of the party. Don't get fooled when they say that Dayashankar has been removed from the party. Remember, what VK Singh said about Dalits? He compared you with dogs. What action did the BJP take against him?"
It's not about Dalits and dogs alone.
The Congress and Samajwadi Party, both trying aggressively to woo Muslims in UP elections, never miss a chance to remind them about the much talked about Modi's "a puppy coming under the car" comment.
More recently, motormouth Subramanian Swamy took the fancy for dogs to Twitter and left many leaders red faced when he quipped about "someone being bitten by mad unelectable dog".
But it is hard to find a BJP leader today having an iota of sympathy for Dayashankar Singh when he is being called "Dayashankar kutta, murdabad, murdabad".
In one stroke, he has frittered away the capital gains that the BJP had earned by working for months among the Dalits.
Weaning away a section of Dalits from Mayawati, who so far had a tight grip on this vote bank, is one of the most crucial strategies that Amit Shah and his team has been working on.
Shah taking a holy dip with Valmiki sadhus in Ujjain or having lunch at the homes of Dalits were efforts in the same direction.
Lok Sabha election results in 2014 has given the BJP this confidence that if planned shrewdly, the Hindu identity can be used to overshadow the identity of caste and bring the Dalits under the BJP fold.
So successful was the strategy in Lok Sabha polls that Mayawati was reduced to zero seats in UP, which was unprecedented. The RSS has also been extending a helping hand and the pracharaks have been working deep into the villages on this agenda.
In a week-long, closed-door meeting of the RSS in Kanpur recently, a detailed blueprint for this was prepared how to give momentum to this effort.
Once again, the BJP leaders were beaming with confidence and were sure that their efforts to woo Dalits are yielding results. But then the stories of atrocities on Dalits in Gujarat erupted and the opposition parties lapped it up.
And before the BJP could contain the damage, Dayashankar decided to bark a nonsense - and let his party's fortunes go to the dogs in UP.
Till recently, it looked like the BSP was on a downslide in Uttar Pradesh. One after another, leaders were deserting the party and allegations of corruption against Mayawati were flying thick.
But just when the opponents were about to declare the BSP as the demoralised underdog in the run-up to the elections, Dayashankar has proved that barking dogs can also bite.
Now the BSP has got a potent issue to harp on and a new lease of life to bounce back at its opponents very aggressively.
The BJP is nursing its wounds. And it's not difficult to see that the so-called "underdog" is having a field day.