It is an unusual coming together of disparate forces—UP chieftain Mulayam Singh Yadav and his new-found partners, NCP’s Tariq Anwar and the Jan Adhikar Party’s Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav. Had they fought these elections separately, they would have never got so much attention.
The three came together at the eleventh hour after running away from coalitions that did not give them what they wanted or were simply ignored. And now they are cocking a snook at the big two – the NDA and the Grand Alliance.
Political observer and former Nitish confidante Shivanand Tiwary has a warning: “Watch out”. His cryptic message: “They will matter”.
The SP by itself was a “minor irritant” in the polls gone by. But as a six-party “third front” led by the three heavyweights it can skew the results in many constituencies that matter.
To the likely SP threat, RJD chief Lalu Prasad counterposed thus: “If the RJD fields 200 candidates in UP, can it hope to win?” In short, the SP has no chance here.
Well, the SP alliance may seem powerless, but its capacity to chip away at the margin of votes in each constituency could be a game-changer. The SP+ could actually impact 69 of the 243 Bihar seats.
Add to this the AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi targeting 24 Seemanchal seats where Tariq, Pappu, SP, RJD, JD-U and the Congress have a big stake among the same constituents—Muslims and Yadavs. So, there are enough players eyeing Lalu’s vaunted ‘M-Y’ vote pie.
Also, look at what the SP+ has put together—38 former MLAs and 23 rebel candidates, among them nine former ministers. They may be poll rejects in their original party, but they all have a voter base.
Though the SP could win only four seats in the February 2005 polls, it has had little success to show before or thereafter. With a Muslim face in Tariq as CM candidate, Mulayam’s party could well end up being a ‘SPoiler’ of many a dream this poll season.