LUCKNOW: The adage that there are no permanent friends or foes in politics will come to life when BSP chief Mayawati will not only share the dais with SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav but also seek votes for the arch-rival at a rally in Mainpuri on April 19, burying over two- and- half- decade old animosity.
Mulayam will be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha election from Mainpuri -- his traditional seat.
Notably, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati will together hold 11 public rallies in Uttar Pradesh to woo voters before the general polls.
Both the titans of UP political arena are expected to share the dais after 26 years. They were seen on a common platform last in 1993. After that the political upheavals of UP politics with the Guest House episode of 1995 being the biggest blot, made them stand at opposite poles.
It may be recalled that for the first time, the then SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP founder president Kanshi Ram shook hands to thwart BJP’s temple run chanting – Mile Mulayam Kanshi Ram, hawa mein ud gaye jai Shree Ram – in 1993, a year after demolition of disputed structure in Ayodhya and dismissal of Kalyan Singh’s government in UP.
The then SP-BSP alliance had succeeded in leaving a mark in the state politics by winning 167 of 423 Assembly seats with blue brigade getting 67 seats and SP 109.
The alliance, however, did not last and ended in 1995 but not without scripting the most sordid tale of UP politics in the form of infamous guest house incident wherein SP workers manhandled the then BSP general secretary, Mayawati in Lucknow on June 2, 1995.
It was then that the BSP joined hands with the BJP to form the government in the state dumping Mulayam.
The incident had left an irreparable dent to the SP-BSP ties. Believably, every time Kanshi Ram tried to revive the ties with Mulayam, thereafter, Maya was the biggest hurdle.
The animosity further deepened when in 2003 Mulayam, the wrestler- turned- politician left Mayawati stung once again by effecting defection in BSP with 37 of its MLAs making a separate outfit -- Loktantrik BSP—and pledging support to Mulayam who had 142 MLAs in 2003. The SP chief took over as UP CM for a third stint.
The breakaway group of BSP MLAs did not invite disqualification as it had one-third strength of the 111-member BSP legislature party.
Since then the rivalry between the two parties has been on the rising fighting respective elections fiercely against each and forming respective governments in 2007 and 2012.
But the saffron juggernaut and the subsequent winning sprees of the BJP in 2014 and 2017, made the foes forget their decade-old antagonism for what they call a "political revolution" towards a common agenda of political survival by ousting the BJP.
"I am moving ahead of the 1995 guesthouse incident in the interest of the country and to serve the people, who are upset with the BJP's 'anti-people' policies," Mayawati had said while announcing the pact with SP in a joint press conference on January 12.
Now both Mayawati is gearing up not only to share the dais with SP patriarch but also seek votes for him in Mainpuri which goes to poll in the third phase on April 23.
Both SP and BSP spokespersons confirmed the campaign programme. In fact, SP, BSP and RLD chiefs would hold 11 joint rallies between April 7 and May 16.