SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav with BSP chief Mayawati(HT)
SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav with BSP chief Mayawati(HT)

Lok Sabha Elections 2019:How SP-BSP aim to repeat 1993 BJP defeat

After 26 years, the arch rivals have again come together to take on the BJP
By Rajesh Kumar Singh/Pankaj Jaiswal | Hindustan Times, Lucknow, Lucknow
PUBLISHED ON MAR 12, 2019 09:10 AM IST

Announcing pre-poll alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) in Lok Sabha election on January 12, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati reminded the people about alliance between the two parties in 1993 UP assembly elections.

“In 1993, the alliance had outsmarted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that was riding the Ram Temple wave at that time. The alliance will repeat the same feat by crushing the BJP in Lok Sabha election,” she said.

The 1993 assembly election was held under the shadow of the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya and the BJP, riding on the saffron wave, was confident of grabbing power.

Whatever SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has initiated and accomplished now, the then party president Mulayam Singh Yadav had done at that time.

Mulayam had joined hands with then BSP chief Kanshi Ram to give a jolt to the BJP.

While the BJP won 177 seats to emerge as the single largest party in the house of 425, the SP-BSP combine bagged 176 seats (SP-109 and BSP- 67) and formed the government with the support of Congress, CPI (M) and CPI.

According to political analysts, as the BJP was considered to be an untouchable after the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya and the political narrative had changed to secularism versus communalism, no one supported the BJP.

Later, the BSP dumped the alliance accusing Mulayam of indulging in selfish politics that led to the infamous guest house incident in 1995, as Mayawati became the chief minister with the BJP support.

After this, the two parties became sworn enemies.

After 26 years, the arch rivals have again come together to take on the BJP. The two parties have also taken the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) on board. RLD has considerable support base among Jat voters in west UP.

While addressing joint press conference with Mayawati, Akhilesh had said: “We have learnt our lessons from the BJP. They have taught us the arithmetic of castes. Now, our arithmetic is perfect.”

Akhilesh was hinting at the combined vote banks of three parties that comprise of dalits, Muslims, backwards and Jats.

In 2014, the combined vote share of SP-BSP-RLD totalled to 42.98% which is slightly higher than the BJP’s 42.63%.

Both BSP and RLD did not win a single seat and SP won only 5. BJP had bagged 71 seats.

Of the 78 seats that the alliance is contesting now, its combined votes exceeded the BJP’s on a total of 42 seats.

Akhilesh has been citing the outcome of last year’s by-elections on four seats – three Lok Sabha and one assembly – to make his point.

The victory of SP candidates in the by-polls on Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats, considered to be the stronghold of the BJP, paved way for the alliance.

The BSP announced support to SP candidates in the by-poll which halted the BJP’s victory chariot setting the stage for the alliance of regional parties.

Terming the SP-BSP alliance as the beginning of a new era in state politics, Mayawati said it would trigger a new political revolution in the country.

“It’s the alliance of not only two political parties but also of the communities that have been exploited and harassed under the BJP government,” she said.

Mayawati invoked Dalit icon Bhimrao Ambedkar and socialist ideologue Ram Manohar Lohia to send a message to the supporters of both the parties.

Conscious that bringing Yadav and Dalit voters on the same platform in a short duration would be a major challenge for the alliance, Mayawati and Akhilesh issued instructions to office-bearers to hold joint meetings across the state.

A BSP leader, not willing to be named, said: “With an organisation network on the ground, the alliance plans to convert it into well-oiled campaign machine before Mayawati and Akhilesh launch election campaign.”

An independent political analyst RK Gautam said caste calculus would be an important factor in deciding the fate of the parties in Lok Sabha election. “The SP-BSP-RLD alliance is working on Dalit-Yadav-Muslim-Jat support. These voters have a sizable presence in all the constituencies across the state,” he added.

The SP-BSP alliance with the RLD may be a turning point in west UP politics as after the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013, a fissure got created between Jat and Muslim voters.

The RLD support will help in mending fences and giving BJP a tough fight in the region.

BJP had won all the seats in west UP in 2014.

BSP national general secretary Ramachal Rajbhar said, “The seat-sharing formula has been worked out on the basis of the influence the party concerned wields in a particular region.”

“RLD has been allotted three seats in its traditional stronghold –Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar and Mathura. The BSP has been allotted seats in west UP where Dalit vote is decisive while in Muslim-dominated Rohilkhand region the SP has been given the lion’s share,” he said.

Rajbhar said the SP-BSP alliance had shared seats equally in crucial east UP region where backward and upper caste vote played a crucial role.

Former head of the department of political science at Lucknow University Prof SK Dwivedi said: “The alliance, if it wants to challenge the BJP, can turn more formidable by taking the Congress on board.”

Explaining the reason for not taking the Congress onboard, Mayawati explained: “When we ally with the Congress, our votes get transferred to them, but theirs don’t come to us. So, Congress benefits, we don’t.”

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