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CBI may come in handy for BJP to trouble Mayawati; and SP won't mind

Panini Anand | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:12 IST
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UP 2017

  • UP, India\'s most populous state, goes to polls next year
  • Mayawati and her BSP seem set to gain the most

Parties in power

  • SP should be ready for strong anti-incumbency
  • BJP shouln\'t hope for a repeat of its 2014 success

More in the story

  • What the BJP and the SP have in common?
  • How the CBI may be used against Mayawati

The foggy political climate of Uttar Pradesh has been heated up by an external factor: the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in power at the Centre, and the Samajwadi Party (SP), which rules UP, are mulling over using the agency to crack down on Mayawati, the supremo of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

The state goes to poll next year and it doesn't look easy for the lotus and the bicycle to stop the elephant.

Legal troubles

The Supreme Court is expected to hear the disproportionate assets case against former UP chief minister Mayawati on 15 January, which also happens to be her birthday.

The case was reopened in 2014 when a fresh petition was moved. The apex court issued notices seeking reply from the CBI and the Centre, the state government and others.

The reply by the state government is awaited. Mayawati has submitted her reply to the court and said how could the court start the whole matter afresh after resolved it once. She pleaded the court to not let rivals drive political vendetta and damage her public image.

Which is what seems to be the motive of the side in power in the state. At least that's what it seems from the way it avoided an official comment.

It is not surprising that there have been as many as three speeches by Mayawati in the Upper House of Parliament in the last two sessions where she mentioned possible political vendetta and misuse of the central agency against her.

The power game

With only a year to elections, every political player in UP is gearing up. The ruling SP seems to have lost the popular support that brought it to power in 2012. The infights and multiple power heads of the government have proven to be spoiler for the Akhilesh Yadav government.

There are two main contenders to dislodge the SP: the BSP, currently the main Opposition; and the BJP, which has had a poor showing in the past few elections, but did outstandingly well in the 2014 general elections, winning 73 of the state's 80 Lok Sabha seats.

However, that doesn't guarantee the party a victory in 2017. And the BJP knows that well, thanks to assessments by party leaders.

'In UP, 226 riots would not have been possible unless SP, BJP were conspiring together'

As the Congress continues to be weak in the state and in the absence of other giants, the BSP looks set to be the biggest challenger.

And it is here that the CBI comes into the picture.

A probe against Mayawati will benefit both the BJP and the SP. Instead of being on the edge, both would prefer a bipolar election with 50-50 chances.

The third empire

That the CBI is such a big factor in the state's politics doesn't come as a surprise to many. The citizens of UP are quite used to it.

"Both (the BJP and the SP) are losing ground. They are trying all possible tricks," senior BSP leader Swamy Prasad Maurya told Catch.

"There have been as many as 226 big riots in the state uncer the current regime. Stones are reaching Ayodhya... all this would not have been possible without the two parties conspiring together."

Maurya says the CBI has been misused and that "political vendetta could go to any extend again".

What he means is that there is a possibility of the CBI being used again against Mayawati, just like it happened before the Bihar elections. At that time, she had strongly criticised the move and called it vendetta.

"CBI was also used to stop the formation of Janata Parivar. Mulayam left the Grand Alliance to give a walkover to Modi in Bihar. They might do something again together. This is a clear case of misuse of CBI and a BJP-SP understanding," Maurya says.

"From Yadav Singh to many other cases, the threads of the state government and its leaders are in Modi's hand. They will obey whatever the directive are," another BSP leader says.

The 'misuse' of CBI, however, may also help Mayawati by helping her gain sympathy and consolidate her traditional vote bank.

For now we need to wait until her birthday. When supporters will gather at her residence and every district headquarter to celebrate and take her message from there to among the voters. We need to wait and watch whether the Supreme Court ruling changes the taste of her cake hat day.

First published: 8 January 2016, 9:31 IST
 
Panini Anand @paninianand

Senior Assistant Editor at Catch, Panini is a poet, singer, cook, painter, commentator, traveller and photographer who has worked as reporter, producer and editor for organizations including BBC, Outlook and Rajya Sabha TV. An IIMC-New Delhi alumni who comes from Rae Bareli of UP, Panini is fond of the Ghats of Varanasi, Hindustani classical music, Awadhi biryani, Bob Marley and Pink Floyd, political talks and heritage walks. He has closely observed the mainstream national political parties, the Hindi belt politics along with many mass movements and campaigns in last two decades. He has experimented with many mass mediums: theatre, street plays and slum-based tabloids, wallpapers to online, TV, radio, photography and print.

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