Bihar break-up to spice up UP bypolls amid fresh GA talks  | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Bihar break-up to spice up UP bypolls amid fresh GA talks 

The breakup of the grand alliance in Bihar has spiced up the scene in Uttar Pradesh.

lucknow Updated: Jul 28, 2017 16:29 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Both Akhilesh and Mayawati have criticised Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for siding with the BJP and thus breaking the ‘grand alliance’
Both Akhilesh and Mayawati have criticised Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for siding with the BJP and thus breaking the ‘grand alliance’ (PTI File Photo)

The breakup of the grand alliance in Bihar has spiced up the scene in Uttar Pradesh just ahead of the bypoll (yet to be announced) to the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha with an angry RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav now once again talking of bringing Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati together. 

If that happens, it would be another effort to cobble up a ‘mahagathbandhan’ before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, something that many feel will be up for test in the Lok Sabha by-polls in UP. 

Chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, the MPs from Gorakhpur and Phulpur, are set to resign as MPs in keeping with the constitutional provision that requires them to seek membership of either house of the UP legislature before September 18. 

Read more: Nitish’s BJP plunge leaves JD (U) MLAs from Bihar’s Muslim hub in a fix

More than Gorakhpur, a BJP citadel for over two decades, it’s the OBC-dominated Phulpur seat that BJP won for the first time in 2014 Lok Sabha polls where the opposition could possibly test its ‘mahagathbandan’ plan for 2019. 

"So what if Nitish is no longer with grand alliance? We will get Maya and Akhilesh together along with Mamata (Banerjee)," Lalu said on Thursday after being left in the cold by JD (U), his former alliance partner. The Bihar leader had also offered to send Mayawati to Rajya Sabha again from Bihar. 

Interestingly, the buzz is that either BSP chief Mayawati, who resigned from the Rajya Sabha, or Krishna Patel, the Kurmi leader from the anti-BJP faction of the OBC-packed Apna Dal, could be a possible joint opposition candidate from Phulpur. Amid the speculation of opposition unity being tested in Phulpur, a section in the BJP is building a case for Maurya retaining his Lok Sabha seat and being made a union minister to puncture any plan that opposition might have to embarrass the BJP. 

“I heard someone is being sent to Delhi out of the fear of opposition unity. Imagine what would happen if we come together,” Akhilesh Yadav said in Lucknow on Thursday. 

Both Akhilesh and Mayawati have criticised Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar for siding with the BJP and thus breaking the ‘grand alliance’ that was conceived 20 months back to stop the Modi-led BJP that is on a roll since 2014, registering impressive victories in several states. 

Read more: Nitish’s move will benefit both him and Modi but the mahagatbandhan is in tatters

On his part Maurya has described talks of him shifting to Delhi to avoid opposition build up as ‘hawai fire’ (imaginary shot). “Maurya is the party’s OBC face and his shifting to Delhi will only underline the fact that BJP is scared of facing a united opposition, a message that the party won’t like to give either,” says a BJP leader. 

Former UP minister Ravidas Mehrotra supports the ‘Maya from Phulpur’ buzz. “I think Mayawati should contest from Phulpur,” Mehrotra said. 

But there are those who feel that since Mayawati is a Dalit, her candidature could polarise the sizeable OBC votes in Phulpur in favour of the BJP.