‘If our paths are different…’: Akhilesh Yadav’s first response to Mayawati breakup
Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, the two regional powerhouses in UP, buried years of acrimony to come together last year and forged what was considered a formidable caste coalition.Updated: May 20, 2020, 02:57 IST
Samajwadi Party boss Akhilesh Yadav ended his silence on Mayawati’s announcement that her party would contest the by-elections on 11 assembly seats on its own, not in alliance with the SP. “If our paths are different, then we welcome it also and best wishes to everyone,” Akhilesh Yadav told reporters hours after Mayawati appeared to pull the plug on the alliance.
“If the coalition has broken, I will reflect deeply on it and if the coalition isn’t there in the by-elections, then Samajwadi Party will prepare for the elections. Samajwadi Party will also fight on all 11 seats alone,” Akhilesh Yadav said.
The two regional powerhouses buried years of acrimony to come together last year and forged what was considered a formidable caste coalition to take on the BJP in the general elections. But it failed to stop the BJP, which won 62 of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats.
The BSP won 10 seats, up from zero in 2014 while the Samajwadi Party remained stuck at its 2014 tally of five. But Akhilesh Yadav’s party lost a number of family pocket boroughs, including Kannauj, where SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple lost by around 12,000 votes.Also Watch | Mayawati announces break from SP alliance, will fight alone in UP bypolls
Mayawati, who had shared her assessment of the alliance with party leaders at a meeting yesterday, had made pointed references to the Yadav family’s inability to win seats in its traditional strongholds. According to her party’s assessment, Akhilesh Yadav’s party wasn’t able to get its core support base to vote for BSP candidates.
The BSP chief insisted that her party’s decision to contest by-elections on 11 UP assembly seats wasn’t a permanent breakup. Mayawati appeared to make it sound like she had put Akhilesh Yadav and his party on notice.
“If the Samajwadi Party chief manages to activate his cadre, then we can think of going together in the future. But if fails to do that, then it will be better if we go alone,” Mayawati said in a media statement in Lucknow, echoing the message she had delivered at a meet of party leaders on Monday.
Akhilesh Yadav had avoided comment on media reports of the breakup as long as Mayawati didn’t spell it out.
Like when the first reports of Mayawati’s messaging to her party leaders emerged, Akhilesh Yadav told reporters that he did not have an idea of what Mayawati had really said. “Hard work is needed on the ground to defeat the BJP and our party will do that,” Akhilesh Yadav had said.
Mayawati’s public statement on the two allies parting ways on Tuesday didn’t leave him with much of an option.
She had, however, sought to keep her personal relations with the Yadav family intact and spoke of the “lot of respect” that she received from Akhilesh Yadav and his wife Dimple. “I also forgot all our differences in the interest of the nation and gave them respect. Our relation is not only for politics, it will continue forever,” she said but underlined that there were political compulsions.
Ten BJP MLAs and one SP MLA won the Lok Sabha elections in UP and by-polls are to be held on all those 11 assembly seats.
Leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party jeered at Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, reminding how the BJP and its star campaigner in the Lok Sabha elections Prime Minister Narendra Modi had predicted the collapse of UP’s grand alliance.
“SP-BSP is an unprincipled alliance. People of Uttar Pradesh have completely rejected this alliance and gave it a result that leads to its collapse,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said, according to news agency ANI.