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Mayawati backs SP in UP bypolls, but rejects alliance

Published : Mar 5, 2018, 1:08 am IST
Updated : Mar 5, 2018, 4:21 am IST

The incident soured relations between the two parties and left a deep impact on state politics.

BSP chief Mayawati (Photo: PTI)
 BSP chief Mayawati (Photo: PTI)

Lucknow: More than 23 years after they parted ways in the most acrimonious manner possible, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party will be seen on the same page in the coming Lok Sabha byelections in Uttar Pradesh.

The BSP on Sunday announced that it would support SP candidates in the two Lok Sabha byelections in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, apparently to defeat the BJP.

An announcement to this effect was made by BSP leader Ghanshyam Kharwar and Allahabad district coordinator Ashok Gautam. At the BSP zonal meeting in Allahabad, Ghanshyam Kharwar, in charge of the BSP’s Gorakhpur zone, Udaiveer Singh of SP and Dr Sanjay Nishad, president of the Nishad Party, were present. After the meeting, the leaders announced support to the SP candidates. The BSP is not contesting the byelections.

However, BSP sources made it clear that support to the SP shouldn’t be seen as the first step to an alliance of the two parties in next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

BSP president Mayawati later told PTI: “All rumours of a BSP-SP alliance are false and baseless. Since we have not put up our candidates in the Lok Sabha byelections, our party workers and voters wanted a directive. So I have asked them to vote for a party that can defeat the BJP, and it is the SP in this case. It is not an alliance but a transfer of votes.”

She further said that the BSP had not struck an alliance with any party in the country, except in Karnataka.

Ms Mayawati slammed the media for putting out reports of an SP-BSP alliance in UP, and said, “If ever there is an alliance, we will announce it first to the media so that there is no speculation.”

The BJP, meanwhile, downplayed the new alliance of the SP and BSP, and said it would not make any difference to its prospects in the byelections.

UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath said the alliance was a mismatch — “ker-ber ka sangh hai” (“ker” is banana in the local parlance and “ber” is a berry).

“Everyone knows that the Samajwadi Party had earlier threatened to demolish the statues of dalit icons and the two parties have traded charges at the lowest possible level. Besides, the results in the Northeast prove that the colour of development is now saffron”, the CM said while speaking to reporters on Sunday.

UP BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey said the BJP would win the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats with a record margin. “This alliance between the SP and BSP has exposed the two parties. People now know that these leaders can make any compromise for the sake of power and have no principles whatsoever”, he said.

Political analysts, meanwhile, have their reservations about the impact of the alliance. “The BSP hold over dalit votes has weakened in the past few years and it is doubtful whether its votes will be smoothly transferred to the SP candidates. Moreover, dalits and Yadavs have been at war since the past two decades when the infamous State Guest House incident took place in 1995. It is unlikely that they will vote together now”, said an analyst.

In June 1995, ties between the SP and BSP snapped when Samajwadis stormed into the State Guest House in Lucknow where Ms Mayawati was addressing a meeting of her party MLAs. While Samajwadi leaders abducted some MLAs, Ms Mayawati locked herself in a room with the remaining legislators and remained there for over 30 hours until the Mulayam Singh Yadav government was dismissed and she was rescued by the police. The incident soured relations between the two parties and left a deep impact on state politics.

Tags: mayawati, up bypolls
Location: India, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow