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Uttar Pradesh

SP-BSP show to have far-reaching impact

April 20, 2019 05:08 AM

COURTESY HT APRIL 20

Pankaj Jaiswal pjaiswal@hindustantimes.com
SP-BSP show to have far-reaching impact
SHOW OF STRENGTH On the eve of the SP-BSP-RLD joint rally, Mulayam had given enough indications of the shape of things to come by calling the day as historic
LUCKNOW:It’s a historic day in Uttar Pradesh politics with two arch rivals Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati coming together in a massive show of strength that observers and analysts say will have far-reaching implications on the Lok Sabha elections 2019.


The rally venue itself spoke of the diversity that came together in Mainpuri, with red-blue-green flags, gathbandhan slogans, blue caps of the BSP, red of the SP and green of the RLD mingling as one with the slogan “Jiska jalwa kaayam hai, uska naam Mulayam hai”.

Mainpuri, the Yadav bastion, was at the centre of the most-watched political event in the country. It was also the day when Mulayam, who for over a year had been on the opposite side of his son and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, positioned himself beside him on the biggest stage since October 24, 2016, when a showdown had happened between the warring factions of Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle Shivpal Yadav.

Mulayam, on the eve of the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party-Rashtriya Lok Dal joint rally by calling the rally day as “historic”, gave enough indications of the shape of things to come. And when in the same breath he had said: “Ask the organisers how would the rally be, I will only address it”, declared that he will attend it.

“Whatever little confusion that voters might have been harbouring would dispel today about both -- the family feud and SP-BSP alliance. Today was a historic day, when the family feud will be considered completely settled in Samajwadi Party,” said Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali, the Imam of Idgah, Lucknow.

Since August 2016, Mulayam had been blowing hot and cold over both Akhilesh’s leadership of the Samajwadi Party and his stand on Shivpal Yadav. Exactly a week before Akhilesh Yadav declared Mulayam the Mainpuri candidate of Samajwadi Party, Mulayam, sitting at SP’s headquarters, had criticised Akhilesh over his alliance with the BSP. He had said that by allying with the BSP, now the SP would contest only half the seats.

But Mulayam was quick to change colours. First, he politically shunned Shivpal Yadav and secondly, he went ahead and filed his nomination with a Bahujan Samaj Party leader being one of the proposers for the paperwork at the Mainpuri collectorate on April 1.

“Mayawati and Mulayam came together, and the way they came together, the alliance publically got a stamp of approval from Mulayam, which will have significant implication on the alliance candidates in the remaining five phases of polling in UP leading to further consolidation of Muslim and backwards votes for the alliance,” Farangi said.

There are 62 more constituencies that the alliance is contesting against the common rival, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), voters are waiting to cast votes. Two more, Amethi and Rae Bareli are the constituencies where the alliance has not fielded any candidate.

Both Mayawati and Mulayam conducted themselves well towards each other and visibly courteous to each other in body language and words. And then in her speech, Mayawati played a masterstroke. She called Mulayam the biggest leader of backwards.

“He is not a fake backward community member. Mulayam ji is real backward, has always been from the backward community, unlike PM Modi.” The statement was aimed at further consolidating the caste “arithmetic” that the alliance has put together.

Mulayam had initiated the backward politics in Uttar Pradesh and then turned Muslims a vote bank for SP just shortly before and after the demolition of the disputed structure in Ayodhya.

With herself as the biggest Dalit leader and projecting Mulayam as the biggest backward leader, Mayawati attempted to consolidate the backward and Dalit votes towards the alliance. Of course, both also have Muslims as their constituencies, but it is the Dalits and backwards that the BJP has been eyeing.

“As Mulayam joined Akhilesh and Mayawati, the seats that will see impact are Mainpuri, Kannauj, Etawah, Badaun, Firozabad, Etah, Kanpur Dehat, and Jalaun. These have been the Yadav belt constituencies but votes used to get split between SP and BSP. The message is loud and clear that Mulayam is with the alliance and with his son’s SP,” said Subhash Tripathi, an Etawahbased journalist and political analyst on the region’s politics. Tripathi adds: “BJP will start worrying”.

Professor SK Dwivedi, a Lucknowbased expert on Uttar Pradesh politics and the former head of the department of Lucknow University, opines: “These all have proved yet again that there are no permanent friends and enemies in politics. The only thing that is permanent is the interest. No one had ever imagined that Mayawati and Mulayam who for decades have been bitter rivals to the extent that even avoided seeing each other’s face, will be together. It is the interest and political compulsions that have brought them together.”

By allying with the BSP for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Akhilesh seems to have taken a leaf out of Mulayam’s book. In the 1993 UP assembly polls, Mulayam had allied with the BSP and its then-president Kanshi Ram by working out the same Backwards-Dalits-Muslim arithmetic. They succeeded in stopping the BJP from coming to power and Mulayam became the chief minister. Mayawati was a senior BSP leader at the time.

However, BSP withdrew support to Mulayam in less than two years, leading to the infamous guesthouse incident on June 2, 1995. That day, several SP leaders and workers had attacked the guesthouse where Mayawati, the then BSP general secretary, was present with party MLAs. On June 3, 1995, she became the chief minister for the first time with the BJP’s support.


At the rally, Mayawati asked the voters to make Mulayam win by the biggest margin on the Mainpuri seat, a seat that the BJP has never won. Mulayam himself won it in 1996, 2004, 2009, and 2014 general elections. Thus Maya and Mulayam coming together were certainly not about the victory on Mainpuri seat. It’s about improving performance on 61 other seats.

 

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