Bahujan Samaj Party
Bahujan Samaj Party, popularly known as the BSP, is a significant national political party in India. It was founded in 1984 by Kanshi Ram, a member of the Dalit community. The word ‘bahujan’ literally means ‘the majority of the people’ and ‘samaj’ means ‘society’. The BSP is symbolic to the ‘Majority of People’, representing mainly the oppressed sections of the society such as the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes as well as religious minorities. It has a socialist ideology, which is “Social Transformation and Economic Emancipation” of the “Bahujan Samaj” or the backward communities. Kanshi Ram was deeply inspired by the teachings of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, who was lovingly called Babasaheb, the principal architect of the Constitution of India. The BSP raises its strong voice against the ‘Manuwadi’ social system practised by upper-caste Hindus, especially Brahmins, as well as by the elite sections of the society. Kanshi Ram was succeeded by Mayawati as President of the BSP in 1993, due to Kanshi Ram’s deteriorating health. Bahujan Samaj Party has its main base is in the state of Uttar Pradesh, where Mayawati served as Chief Minister for four terms, before losing the seat to the rival Samajwadi Party in 2012.
Election Symbol and its Significance
The Election Symbol of the BSP, as approved by the Election Commission of India, is an ‘Elephant’ which is facing left. This symbol is used by the BSP in all states except Assam and Sikkim, where the party must choose another symbol. Presently these two states do not have the presence of the BSP in the elections, so the symbol to be used in these two states has not yet been decided. There is an immense significance attached to the symbol used by the BSP. An elephant symbolizes physical strength and will-power. It is a giant animal and is usually very peaceful. This inherent meaning is applied to mean the huge population of the ‘Bahujan Samaj’ or the down-trodden sections of the society. It is not only a very large section of the society, but the lower-caste and minority sections have great physical and mental strength and can fight all battles, however difficult. The struggle against the upper-castes as well as the oppression faced by them, is symbolized by the use of the ‘elephant’ – it is tough, fearless, peaceful as well as full of strength.
Leaders of Bahujan Samaj Party
The leaders of the BSP, who are also their national representatives and executives, are the following:
Mayawati, National President
Miss Mayawati, lovingly called ‘Behenji’ or sister, has contributed significantly to the ideologies and objectives of the BSP. Mayawati has upheld the revolutionary principles of social and economic empowerment of the lower and backward castes as well as the ideals of equality, justice and fraternity. She is a proponent of uninhabited education for the masses so that they can fight for their own institutional and legal rights.
Satish Chandra Mishra, All-India General Secretary
Himself a lawyer, Satish Mishra was a part of the Cabinet of the Mayawati Government in Uttar Pradesh. He was also a member of the Parliamentary Forum on Youth and Joint Parliamentary Committee on Wakf.
Dr. Suresh Mane, National General Secretary
Dr. Mane looks after the welfare of the workers of the party. He is the President of the Mumbai Port Trust SC, ST and OBC Employee’s Welfare Association. He is the Founder President of the Bahujan Municipal Kamgar Union.
Achievments of the party
The BSP’s primary achievements have been with respect to the state governance of Uttar Pradesh. The welfare schemes implemented in UP have greatly benefited the poor and downtrodden sections of the society, including the women, disabled persons and members of religious minorities.
- Notable amendments of the ‘zamindari kanoon’ or the rules of the patriarchal landed property of the zamindars were made, to benefit the farmers, women, labourers and others.
- A number of schemes or yojnas initiated in UP have helped poor families to a significant extent. Some of these notable schemes are ‘Uttar Pradesh Mukhyamantri Mahamaya Gharib Arthik Madad Yojna’, ‘Savitribai Phule Shikhsha Madad Yojna’, ‘Mahamaya Gharib Balika Ashirwad Yojna’, ‘Dr. Ambedkar Gram Sabha Samagra Vikas Yojna’, ‘Manyawar Shri Kanshiram Ji Sheri Gharib Awas Yojna’ and others. These schemes have made possible the families of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) list to get free education, housing and other assistance from the BSP.
- More significantly, the BSP has catered to the needs of members of the lower-castes belonging to various professions such as lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc.
- The BSP have made significant contributions to the infrastructure, maintenance of law and order in UP, medical and health facilities to the people, as well as rural and urban empowerment.
All the developmental policies of the BSP follow in their aim: “Sarvajan Hitay- Sarvajan Sukhay” or the peace and prosperity of all the members of the depressed classes.