Relations between Left leaders and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati are precipitously poised — putting a question mark over the future of the ‘third alternative’.
The BSP has decided to depute only two MPs to the Left-sponsored ‘joint demonstration’ being organised outside Parliament House on Thursday to protest against the policies of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
Having rejected the Left’s proposal for a joint campaign, the BSP chief on Wednesday agreed to ensure token participation at the rally.
This was after she was persuaded to do so by the top bosses of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), including CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat.
Along with Left leaders, Thursday’s demonstration is expected to be joined by MPs belonging to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), JD(S) and the BSP. The JD(S) will be represented by former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda.
“The BSP does not favour pre-poll arrangements with other parties. We have nothing to gain from such joint rallies,” a senior BSP leader said on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
For their part, the Left leaders are wary of a commitment of long-term political relations with Mayawati in view of her perceived unpredictable nature — and also because of the pending charges of corruption against her.
At the same time, in view of the uncertainties of coalition politics — Karat and Mayawati are both interested in keeping a minimal level of contact for the present. The Left and BSP leaders are also scheduled to share the podium at a seminar at New Delhi on Friday.
Mayawati’s self-projection as a prime ministerial candidate and her unwillingness to share parliamentary seats with non-Congress and non-BJP parties are among the factors inhibiting the formation of a third alternative.