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Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati Wednesday rejected outright arch-rival and Samajwadi Party boss Mulayam Singh Yadav’s offer of forming an alliance to counter the BJP’s might. However, the same objective has spurred ageing socialist leaders across the country to renew moves to stitch together a “national confederation of secular and democratic parties”.
Mulayam earlier in the day suggested that if RJD chief Lalu Prasad took the initiative for such an alliance, he was not averse to partnering with Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh — where 12 assembly constituencies will go to polls in the next few months.
But after the BSP chief said there was “no question of fighting elections jointly with SP”, he, too, said his party would go it alone. Asked about the alliance plans, he remarked, “The person you are asking about, I don’t take their name.”
The renewed interest in expanding the secular political space comes from the recent coming together of another pair of arch-rivals, Lalu and the JD-U’s Nitish Kumar, in Bihar for the August 19 bypolls in 10 assembly seats.
“There are inherent contradictions and ego hassles among leaders of regional parties operating in the same political space, but the pot of secular politics is undergoing a churn and new configurations can emerge in the run-up to assembly polls in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir,” a JD-U leader said.
The JD-U leader added that the Congress could be a part of such an alliance.
“The bullet of communal politics can be fired but once. The euphoria over Narendra Modi is now over. The secular forces will rebound. I will shortly be meeting CPI-M’s Prakash Karat to revive the idea of a secular front,” Mulayam told HT.
“The Bihar coalition will be the turning point in the movement against the BJP. Secular politics is on the verge of being re-shaped,” said JD-U spokesman KC Tyagi, adding that efforts were on to rope in parties and groups including Ajit Singh’s RLD and Mufti Mohamed Saeed’s PDP.
While chances of a grand structured alliance of “secular parties” being formed look dim as of now, many states are likely to see tie-ups between smaller groups in the coming days.