Bahujan Samaj Party
Published 14th April, 2014
The Bahujan Samaj Party or BSP was founded in 1984 to represent the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes (OBC), also previously known as Dalits or Harijans (“untouchables”). The party describes itself as Centre-left and believes in Dalit Socialism, Secularism and Social Engineering.
The symbol of the party is an Elephant and its colour is Blue.
The party scored its first success in the state elections in Uttar Pradesh in 1993 when it took 67 seats and formed a coalition with the Samajwadi Party; the two parties fell out two years later in 2005 and have been rivals ever since. In 1996 the party formed a coalition with the BJP and in 2002 it linked up with the BJP once more. In 2007 the BSP emerged as the largest party with 206 of the 403 seats in the State Assembly but in 2012 they fell back to 80 of the 403 seats.
The party’s leader, Mayawati, has been Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh four times; June to October 1995, March to September 1997, May 2002 to August 2003 and May 2007 to March 2012.
The party has also had a presence in ten other states across India.
In federal elections to the Lok Sabha, the BSP first won representation in 1989 when they took three of the 545 seats. In 1991 that dropped to two seats but in 1996 it climbed to 11 seats before dropping back to five seats in 1998. In 1999 the party won 14 of the 545 seats in the Lok Sabha, that went up to 19 seats in 2004 and 21 of the 543 seats in 2009.