Mayawati calls alliance with SP ‘useless’ after winning 10 LS seats

A file photo of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati has called off her party’s ‘grand alliance’ with Akshilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party (SP) in Uttar Pradesh and decided to go solo in the upcoming bypoll for 11 Assembly seats.

In a meeting with her party people on Monday, Mayawati termed the alliance as bekar (useless) as there was no transfer of ‘Yadav votes’ to her party candidates in the recently held Lok Sabha elections.

She also derided Akhilesh Yadav for being unable to ensure his wife Dimple Yadav’s win. Dimple lost the Kannuaj Lok Sabha seat, which has over 3.5 lakh Yadav voters. The seat was held by her family members since 1999.

Both BSP and SP had contested 38 seats each in the state, while leaving the remainder of 80 Lok Sabha seats to other smaller parties in their ‘grand alliance’. While BSP’s tally went up from zero to 10 in 2019 elections, compared to 2014, SP remained the same with 5 seats.

Incidentally, the purpose of grand alliance was to stop the BJP from winning a significant number of seats from the state, and thereby, prevent Narendra Modi’s return as prime minister. The arithmetic of SP and BSP vote banks also indicated they could win most of the 80 seats if contested in alliance.

During the campaign, Akhilesh Yadav had repeatedly backed Mayawati for Prime Minister in case of a hung Parliament. In return, Mayawati’s BSP would help him return to power in Uttar Pradesh in 2022 Assembly elections, reports said.

However, the BJP alliance ended up bagging 64 LS seats in the state, crushing Mayawati’s hope for a grand show and the prime minister’s post.

Why is Mayawati worried over Muslims votes?

Image credit: NDTV

Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh on Sunday held the first joint election rally of the Grand Alliance (Ghathbandan) of their parties in Uttar Pradesh. Addressing a massive crowd, Mayawati promised jobs in government and private sectors, and  described the BJP and the Congress as mirror images of each other.

However, an important take away from the rally is Mayawati’s open call to Muslims not to vote Congress in the April-May Lok Sabha elections.

“I am warning, especially people of Muslim community, that Congress isn’t in a position to fight BJP in UP. Only Gathbandhan can fight BJP,” she appealed.

According to Model Code of Conduct (MCC), political parties are barred from asking votes in the name of religion. But the question arises why did Mayawati risk MCC charge?

Has she had some inkling about Muslims veering towards Congress? Apparently, several promises made in Congress’s manifesto, especially safeguarding Article 370 that accords special status to Jammu and Kashmir and reviewing Armed Forces Special Powers Act are aimed at pleasing Muslims in other states as well.

Similarly, Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s choice of Wayanad constituency in Kerala is seen as a strategic move to impress upon Muslims in other states. The Congress party is in alliance with Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in Kerala. Last week, IUML workers flooded Rahul Gandhi’s road show in huge numbers waving green flags on the day of him filing his nomination.

It remains to be seen if Muslims are ready to junk SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh and shift their allegiance back to the Congress again.