LUCKNOW: One of the highest points of the 2019 elections was the alliance between arch rivals Samajwadi Party and Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party to stop the saffron juggernaut in Uttar Pradesh. The two regional satraps joined hands putting their 25-year-old rivalry behind.
However, the outcome suggests that their Muslim-Yadav-Dalit arithmetic was outshone by Modi chemistry. While SP not only failed to add a single seat to its 2014 tally of five, it also lost its bastions of Kannauj, Badaun and Firozabad. On the contrary, the BSP fared better and added 10 seats to its 2014 tally.
The elections proved again that Akhilesh’s luck doesn’t fare well with alliances. It brought back memories of 2017 SP-Congress alliance. This time, the SP chief put his bet on Yadav consolidation while focussing on Dalits and backward communities by collaborating with Mayawati and Jayant Chaudhary’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).
SP-BSP-RLD alliance finds its genesis in 2018 bypoll when SP won Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana with BSP and RLD support. The thought took Akhilesh to Maya to stitch up an alliance despite his father’s objection.
The BSP chief entered the pact with the SP but minus the Congress. The idea was to cash-in on the mutual vote constituencies — Yadavs, Muslims and Jatavs — while trapping anti-BJP’s floating vote. The alliance, however, failed to gauge BJP’s gameplan.
It presented a bigger challenge in the form of Modi’s image, government welfare schemes and its own alliance of upper castes, non-Yadav OBCs and non-Jatav Dalits. The BJP fought the battle of over 50% vote share and it achieved it by adding 7-8 percentage points taking its share to 49.55%.
Now, the scenario doesn’t offer much for Akhilesh and Mayawati but to analyse the results. The findings, however, will decide the future of the alliance. Akhilesh faces the twin challenges of dealing with an irate father and keeping his Yadav-Muslim vote bank intact.
Maya, meanwhile, faces the challenge to staying relevant. By making her prime ministerial ambitions public, this rout will make her cut a sorry figure.