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Rajya Sabha elections: SP-BSP combine falters in first test after UP bypoll show

Rajya Sabha elections: The defeat will force Mayawati to rethink the alliance as the SP-Congress-RLD failed to ensure the victory of party’s candidate, analysts believe.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2018 12:16 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Rajya Sabha elections,BSP SP alliance,Samajwadi Party
A poster of Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav outside the Samajwadi Party’s office in Lucknow.(PTI File Photo)

The defeat of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate, Bhimrao Ambedkar, in the Rajya Sabha election from Uttar Pradesh has turned out to be a major setback for the SP-BSP alliance, according to political observers.

After the SP candidates won the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats with BSP’s tactical support earlier this month, BSP chief Mayawati had meticulously worked to build a coalition of non-NDA political parties — the BSP, the SP, the Congress and the RLD — in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

The Rajya Sabha election was supposedly a test for the alliance.

But the BJP managed to make a dent in the alliance by winning nine of the 10 seats that went to poll from the state—one extra, thanks to the support of some SP and BSP MLAs.

After the bypoll win, Mayawati had hoped that none of her party MLAs will defect or be lured by the BJP.

But political equations changed fast after the BJP’s humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha bypolls, said BSP state president Ramachal Rajbhar, who had predicted that BSP MLAs will reject BJP’s overtures.

Party MLA from Purwa, Anil Kumar Singh, announced his support for the BJP candidate.

The Allahabad high court order restraining BSP MLA Mukhtar Ansari, lodged in Banda jail, from voting in the Rajya Sabha poll might also have upset the BSP plans.

Aware that the fight will be tough, BSP national general secretary SC Mishra was in the Vidhan Bhawan early in the morning, discussing the strategy with the party MLAs and senior leaders.

On the request of Mishra, Congress and SP MLAs cast their votes early.

There were rumours that some BJP MLAs and Suheldev Bharitya Samaj Party members might cross-vote in support of the BSP candidate. But the BJP countered their plan.

RK Gautam, a political observer, said the BSP candidate’s defeat will be a setback for the SP-BSP alliance before the crucial 2019 Lok sabha election.

The defeat will force Mayawati to rethink the alliance as the SP-Congress-RLD failed to ensure the victory of party’s candidate, analysts feel. The BSP chief had earlier said the alliance partners had failed to transfer their votes to the BSP in past elections.

First Published: Mar 24, 2018 11:34 IST