UP Gathbandhan: An unlikely chemical bond

After CBI heat, Lalu Yadav’s dream of a Bihar-like grand alliance in the state seems far from reality

Published: 16th July 2017 09:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th July 2017 09:34 AM   |  A+A-

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav (left) with SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav

LUCKNOW: Two days before CBI teams swarmed 12 locations belonging to former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav across four cities, he had offered to play broker to stitch a grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh to wipe out the BJP in 2019. One is not sure if the two incidents are linked, but Lalu’s dream of a Bihar-like Mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh seems far from turning into a reality.

In Bihar, when JD(U) and RJD came together before the state polls in 2015, there was nothing as compelling as taking on the common enemy—the BJP. Besides, both the parties were mostly centred around Nitish Kumar in JD(U) and Lalu in RJD. They managed to bury their old hatchets, though they are threatening to reappear and the alliance is under severe strain.

On the contrary, look at the three major Opposition players in UP. Samajwadi Party (SP) is getting deeper into the quagmire of family feud that started a year ago. Last week, members of Mainpuri zila panchayat—most of them from SP—passed a no-confidence motion against their chairman Sandhya Yadav. She is the sister of Badaun MP Dharmendra Yadav, who is former CM Akhilesh Yadav’s cousin.

What is intriguing is one of the signatories on the motion against Sandhya is her husband, Anujesh, considered close to Shivpal Yadav, Akhilesh’s uncle and his bête noire in the present feud.
SP also stands divided on the issue of voting in the Presidential polls.

Now, the question: Does this outfit look like leading a grand alliance to take on Amit Shah’s demolition squad?

The belief in political circles is that SP can’t lead the mahagathbandhan in UP. They need to put their house in order. For that, the family will have to unite.

Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP), on the other hand, is fighting a battle for survival with the supremo losing one general after the other. It has been wiped out from the Lok Sabha and with just 19 members in the Vidhan Sabha, even Mayawati’s Rajya Sabha membership, due for renewal next year, is under threat.

Although, just before the UP polls results in March, Akhilesh had said that he was open for an alliance with anyone, it was more because he was confident he would be at a striking distance to form a government. But after the BJP landslide, it is unlikely that Akhilesh—whose party decimated from 229 to mere 47, enough for only one Rajya Sabha seat—would oblige Mayawati. Will Mayawati then look at Lalu for support? And then Lalu would seek a quid pro quo in form of joining the grand alliance with SP? Hypothetically, it can’t be denied. Even if it happens in reality, will the chemistry work?

“Even SP and Congress workers didn’t gel at all at the grassroot level. With the BSP cadre, whom we have been fighting pitched battles for 20 years, it is more unlikely,” said an SP leader.

Meanwhile, the non-existent Congress, with just seven MLAs in the politically most crucial state, seems to have lost the plot. “If Priyanka ji is not brought to centre stage, the party will not be able to lead any alliance. Look the fate of SP-Congress truck in UP,” said a veteran leader.

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