The Bahujan Samaj Party
) is a national level political party in India that was formed to represent Bahujans, referring to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes (OBC), along with religious minorities. According to Kanshi Ram, when he founded the party in 1984, the Bahujans comprised 85 percent of India's population, but were divided into 6,000 different castes. The party claims to be inspired by the philosophy of Gautama Buddha, B. R. Ambedkar, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Narayana Guru, Periyar E. V. Ramasamy and Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj. Kanshi Ram named his protégée, Mayawati, as his successor in 2001. The BSP has its main base in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh where it was the second-largest party in the 2019 Indian general election with 19.3% of votes and in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh elections with over 22% of votes. Its election symbol is an elephant.