LUCKNOW: The upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly bypolls are seeing a strange battle between two estranged allies -- the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
While BSP chief Mayawati is openly blaming SP chief Akhilesh Yadav for the SP-BSP alliance's failure in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the latter's guarded silence has left political circles and his party cadre baffled.
The BSP, in a shift of policy, is gearing up to face the battle for 12 assembly seats of which it had a sitting MLA in Jalalpur assembly segment in Ambedkarnagar.
Bypolls will be held in 11 assembly seats of UP, as sitting MLAs were elected as MPs, and in Hamirpur due to the disqualification of BJP MLA Ashok Kumar Singh Chandel following his conviction in a murder case.
After effecting a major rejig of the party organisation from top to bottom, the BSP is going places to convince the electorate that the Samajwadi Party had lost the support of its core voters because of which the alliance could not be sustained. The arch rivals had joined hands against the BJP stitching up a grand alliance in 2018 ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In fact, both the regional satraps share Muslim support as a common constituency. As the alliance between them failed to fetch desired results and faced a major drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls, a blame game was set off, wherein BSP chief Mayawati claimed that the tie-up failed as SP chief Akhilesh couldn’t get his votes transferred to the BSP candidates.
Mayawati even claimed that Akhilesh was losing his grip on his vote bank as he failed to ensure victory even for his wife and cousins in Kannauj, Badaun and Firozabad.
On the contrary, the SP claimed that the BSP could open its account and take its tally from zero to 10 because of its support. The SP could win just five of the 37 seats it contested.
While the BSP has hopes of returning to power in UP by allying with Muslims and Dalits, it is trying to project to both that SP could win just five seats due to their votes as three of the five SP MPs are Muslims.
While Mayawati is going the whole hog, Akhilesh is treading cautiously and not coming out to contradict the BSP chief. Political experts believe that Akhilesh should contest Mayawati’s claims or else he would be hurting his own political prospects in the future.
“Mayawati should be given an appropriate response. We also have some self-respect. We were given difficult seats to contest,” said a senior SP leader seeking anonymity.
“Already tagged as a leader with failed alliances, the SP chief should come out with his point of view to keep his vote bank intact,” said Prof AK Mishra, a political scientist. He added that the BSP chief’s projection may convince the Muslim voters and they may lose confidence in the SP.