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After election debacle, SP-BSP part ways, focus on consolidating core community bases

The alliance won just 15 seats, with the BSP at 10 and the SP five. The BJP won 62 and the Congress one.

india Updated: Jun 22, 2019 22:06 IST
SP,BSP,Lucknow
When traditional rivals Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) buried 24 years of acrimony to forge an alliance in January this year, they seemed poised to present a tough challenge to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). (ANI Photo)

When traditional rivals Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) buried 24 years of acrimony to forge an alliance in January this year, they seemed poised to present a tough challenge to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But the alliance won just 15 seats, with the BSP at 10 and the SP five. The BJP won 62 and the Congress one. One month later, the two parties have decided to go it alone in the bypolls to 12 assembly seats likely to be held in September or October — of these, the BJP held 10; the SP and BSP held one each.

A fortnight ago, BSP chief Mayawati announced that her party would go solo, saying the SP’s core base of Yadavs had deserted the party. She has also convened a meeting on June 23. A senior BSP leader who spoke on condition of anonymity said the party chief intends to get feedback on the reaction of party supporters over suspending the alliance. “She will (encourage) party cadre to work for the bypolls and review plans to expand the party base among upper and backward communities,” he said.

Meanwhile, the SP has launched a drive to strengthen the organisation. “The focus is on the bypolls. Party leaders have been directed to establish direct communication with the people,” said spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary. An SP leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said party chief Akhilesh Yadav was meeting office-bearers daily about the progress of organisational work at the grassroots. Yadav is keen to strengthen the core vote base of backward communities and Muslims.

Political observer RK Gautam said the BSP and SP were working to counter the challenge from Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) president Shivpal Yadav, respectively. “The support that the Bhim Army is getting from young dalits has sent alarm bells ringing in the BSP,” he said. “Shivpal has turned down the proposal to merge his PSP(L) with the SP stating that his party would field candidates in the bypoll as well as 2022 assembly elections,” he said. Political analyst Prof SK Dwivedi said, “The BJP remains in election mode by launching a membership drive but instead of going to the masses, SP, BSP leaders are meeting in party offices.”

First Published: Jun 22, 2019 22:06 IST