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Why Maya decided to back arch-rivals

The fear of the BJP poaching her party MLAs in the Rajya Sabha election and her supporters in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats forced BSP chief Mayawati to reach a tacit understanding with arch-rivals SP for the upcoming Lok Sabha bypoll, Rajya Sabha and legislative council elections.

lucknow Updated: Mar 05, 2018 14:01 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Rajesh Kumar Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Mayawati,Uttar Pradesh,Arch rivals
Mayawati wished to keep the door open for the Congress as well even as she was annoyed over former national general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui joining that party.(HT Photo)

The fear of the BJP poaching her party MLAs in the Rajya Sabha election and her supporters in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats forced BSP chief Mayawati to reach a tacit understanding with arch-rivals SP for the upcoming Lok Sabha bypoll, Rajya Sabha and legislative council elections.

In the bypoll held on Sikandara assembly seat held in December after the demise sitting BJP MLA Mathura Prasad Pal, the BSP did not either field candidate or supported the SP candidate. Even as SP national president Akhilesh Yadav extended the olive branch to the BSP indicating his willingness for the pre-poll alliance, Mayawati remained averse to the proposal.

The lack of coordination between the two main opposition parties reflected on the floor of the legislative assembly and council as well. The state government had its say on various issues including controversial UPCOCA. Instead, Mayawati started finalising candidates for 2019 Lok Sabha election.

As the date of Lok Sabha by-poll and biennial election to Rajya Sabha drew near, churning started among the BSP leadership for the pre-poll alliance.

A senior BSP leader said zonal coordinators started building pressure on the BSP chief for pre-poll alliance with the SP.

They reminded the BSP chief that a fourth consecutive defeat after the 2012 UP assembly poll, 2014 general election and again 2017 UP assembly poll may prove to be a death nail for the party sending the cadre into disarray, he claimed.

The feedback from the ground as well as SP national president Akhilesh Yadav’s attempt to forge alliance with the small parties like the NISHAD party and the Peace party and to build a backward alliance set the alarm bells ringing in the BSP camp.

“Mayawati was working on dalit- Muslim-backward alliance in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The BSP chief knew if the formula failed to work, the BSP will be again marginalised in the 2019 general election”, said political observer RK Gautam.

Mayawati wished to keep the door open for the Congress as well even as she was annoyed over former national general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui joining that party. In September last year, the BSP had expelled Siddiqui on the charge of anti-party activities.

On Sunday morning after the BSP zonal coordinators Ghanshyam Chand Kharwar (Gorakhpur) and Ashok Gautam (Allahabad) announced support to the SP in Lok Sabha by-poll, in a hurriedly called press conference Mayawati said she had not announced support to the SP but called on the supporters to vote for the strongest opposition candidate. She said the BSP will support Congress candidate for Rajya Sabha in Madhya Pradesh if the Congress supported the BSP candidate in UP.

She said the BSP wished to thwart BJP plan to capture maximum number of Rajya Sabha seats.

BSP state unit president Ramachal Rajbhar said, ‘behanji’ (Mayawati) was trying to check the fascist forces by forging alliance with the opposition parties.

Working on the social engineering formula, the BSP will prevent the BJP from retaining power in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, he said.

First Published: Mar 05, 2018 14:00 IST