The biggest question that hangs ahead of the September 13 UP bypolls to 11 assembly constituencies and the parliamentary seat of Mainpuri is: Can the BJP build upon its success in the Lok Sabha polls by appropriating Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati’s support base among the backwards?
The BSP does not usually contest bypolls. But Mayawati’s decision to abstain from contesting after the party’s severe drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls has opened a debate on the changing political equations and a possible realignment of forces in the future.
Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Ajit Singh’s overtures for Samajwadi Party support for an entry into the Rajya Sabha, his party general secretary Amar Singh’s cosying up with his political mentor, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav are indications of which way political winds are blowing. “An alliance with RLD is impossible, but Amar Singh’s entry is but a mere formality now. He is a sharp shooter and has networking skills,” a senior SP leader said.
The BSP is estimated to be in a position to determine the electoral verdict in no less than 150 of the 403 assembly constituencies. Any possible political re-configuration will necessarily have to hinge around the BSP, a veteran UP watcher said. Indications from the BSP camp are that, after the temporary reprieve in the CBI’s Disproportionate Assets (DA) case against the BSP chief last week, Mayawati is likely to support the BJP candidates in the bypolls as a strategy to further weaken the SP.