Reading between the lines: BSP gains in media blackout

Mayawati and the Bahujan Samaj Party are completely out of the race if we go by the media

Reading between the lines: BSP gains in media blackout

A casual reading of the national media ahead of the elections to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly will tell us that the fight is between the BJP and Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance. Mayawati and the Bahujan Samaj Party are completely out of the race if we go by the media.

Does the lack of coverage of the BSP mean it is really buried in the electoral battle? According to people with access to Mayawati, it would be an error to go by mainstream media reports.

It is said that Mayawati and her team is not bothered by the lack of coverage given to BSP in media. Remember she was never a darling of the media in earlier elections also. It’s a fact that she gained the majority in 2007 and became UP chief minister without much media support.

If one looks at her electoral strategy for this assembly election, it clearly tells that she was ready to tackle the “media bias” and the blackout. For instance, in her huge rally at Azamgarh (the home turf of Mulayam Singh Yadav) in last August, Mayawati openly criticised media of having a bias against Dalits.

Pointing that a considerable section of media is anti-Dalit like the SP and the BJP, she said, “We are accused of selling tickets. At the same time, they say that people are leaving BSP. How can both be true?” She pointed that one-sided reporting of certain media outlets cannot defeat the BSP.

Political observers say that while the corporate media was busy tarnishing Mayawati, she was equally busy in silently building the informal machinery for the BSP. Through various means, she ensured her message is reaching her constituency. Kanshi Ram, her mentor, used a kind of similar strategy to reach out to his constituency. “Dalits don’t trust the upper caste media. To strengthen your movement, you must yourself become the media,” this was Kanshi Ram’s advice to his comrades.

Some of the recent relatively independent reports also hint that despite the media blackout, the BSP is very much in race. It is being pointed out that in the first phase of voting, quite contrary to mainstream media reports, the real fight is between the SP-Congress alliance and Mayawati. It is increasingly proved that the hype created by the corporate media for BJP doesn’t reflect ground reality.
Will Mayawati prove the media is biased and wrong?