The former BSP leaders have been pressed into action by the SP during its ongoing Dalit-outreach programmes. The leaders are highlighting the differences between the two parties, with an aim to consolidate the SP’s base among the Dalits — a key community including Jatavs (BSP loyalists) and non-Jatavs such as Valmikis, Dhobis, Pasis and others — who comprise about 21% of the state’s population.
“They are going to voters in their respective areas and highlighting how their tenure in BSP was spent living under the shadows of Mayawati, whereas we are treating them with respect. This kind of communication by the (former) BSP leaders is resonating with the traditional BSP voters and will help us greatly,” SP national secretary Rajiv Rai told ET.
A former BSP MLA who has joined SP said: “In my 25 years of association with BSP, I never met Behenji even once. I never had a cup of tea with her. I do not even have a single picture with her, but in the last two months I have met Akhilesh five times. Respect matters.” The SP is also trying to woo the Gurjars and OBCs other than Yadavs