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TOI EDIT -UP Heavyweights Mayawati and Mulayam sharing stage will worry BJP

April 20, 2019 05:35 AM


UP Heavyweights
Mayawati and Mulayam sharing stage will worry BJP
In what can only be described as a historic rally, BSP supremo Mayawati and SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav shared a stage after 24 years in UP’s Mainpuri. This is a sight that few could have imagined after the bitter falling out of the two parties in 1995 following the infamous State Guest House incident. Back then SP workers had attacked Mayawati and her party leaders, creating a deep political and psychological fissure between the two outfits, also emblematic of the hostility between agricultural landowning castes and Dalits. In fact, the episode in many ways helped build the cult of Mayawati for surviving a brutal assault and going on to become the first Dalit chief minister in India.

Thus, there’s no denying that the coming together of Mayawati and Mulayam – with the former seeking votes for the latter, and the latter telling his supporters to always respect the former – represents a tectonic shift in UP politics. It also highlights the importance of alliances in the ongoing Lok Sabha election. The SP-BSP combine is expected to do the most damage to BJP in crucial UP, pooling Yadav and Dalit votes apart from winning over significant chunks of the Muslim electorate.

Scepticism has been expressed about whether SP and BSP cadre can work together on the ground. The joint rally should provide impetus to them for doing so, as well as quell doubts about a rift between Mulayam and Akhilesh, who went the extra mile to convince Mayawati to tie up with his party. Similarly, Mayawati too knows an SP-BSP alliance is the best bet to stand up to the BJP juggernaut in UP. It remains to be seen if the formula will deliver, even as Akhilesh fervently hopes his mercurial father will stay the course and not do anything to spike the alliance

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