Akhilesh Yadav outside the residence of BSP chief Mayawati, in Lucknow.(Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)
Akhilesh Yadav outside the residence of BSP chief Mayawati, in Lucknow.(Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)

Gorakhpur, Phulpur bypoll results: Akhilesh meets Mayawati, set to play key role in Opposition unity

Samajwadi Party candidates supported by the Bahujan Samaj Party defeated candidates from the BJP in Lok Sabha by-elections in Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur and Phulpur constituencies.
Hindustan Times, Lucknow | By Umesh Raghuvanshi
UPDATED ON MAR 14, 2018 09:48 PM IST

The Wednesday victory in the by-election to Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats is set to push Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav back to the centrestage and give him an opportunity to emerge as a key player for opposition unity ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

A beleaguered Akhilesh had been finding himself on the backfoot ever since he assumed the SP leadership and his party faced a humiliating defeat in 2017 assembly elections.

With the by-poll victory Akhilesh may be able to overcome the challenges within the SP, but his political acumen will be under test again as he makes efforts to take the alliance ahead and rope in more parties to its fold while keeping the BSP in good humour.

This factor was probably on top of his mind when he decided to send leader of opposition Ram Govind Chaudhary to meet BSP chief Mayawati at her residence before speaking to media persons here.

He, later, himself went to meet the BSP chief to say thanks for her support.

“UP’s Lok Sabha by-poll outcome has sent a political message across the country as the BJP has lost the seats held by chief minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy chief minister and former state BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya. BJP failed to keep promises made to the people. Its failure on farm loan waiver front and providing employment has been a cause of concern,” said Akhilesh while speaking to media persons after poll results.

About SP-BSP alliance for 2019 Lok Sabha elections Yadav said this was time for celebrations. “I am happy that the poor and Dalits have helped,” he said.

While acknowledging that the SP’s victory was a result of people’s anguish against the BJP and support of the BSP along with other parties to SP candidates, Akhilesh targeted Yogi for using derogatory language.

“No chief minister has ever shown such disrespect to the norms and used derogatory language… SP-BSP alliance was called a tie-up between snake and mole. The CM said in state assembly that he did not celebrate Eid. BJP leaders also called SP a party of Aurangzeb. People have now given a befitting reply,” he reminded.

The celebrations at the SP headquarters soon after the poll results, however, ended up in questions about a grand alliance or alliance between the SP and BSP for 2019 Lok sabha elections doing rounds. Will the two parties be able to leave their acrimonious past of June 2 1995 state guest house incidents behind if they decide to move forward?

A senior party leader said two parties had witnessed acrimonious relationship during tenure of Mulayam Singh Yadav as SP chief in 1995 and much water has flown down the Gomti since then.

As state chief minister Akhilesh had addressed BSP chief Mayawati his ‘bua’ who in turn had called him ‘babua’ in a lighter vein.

“This may provide a foundation for a strong bonding between the two,” said the leader.

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