LUCKNOW: With her party in talks for pre-poll alliances in at least five states, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati’s prime ministerial ambitions are on the ascendance. While she is negotiating a ‘package deal’ with the Congress for a tie-up in three states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — her talks with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav for alliance in Uttar Pradesh are in final stage, according to reliable sources. She is also likely to contest Lok Sabha elections after 14 years — a plan that will not only galvanise her cadre to walk an extra mile to ensure the party’s win but will also give a fillip to her acceptability at the national level if the Opposition succeeds in the stopping BJP juggernaut.
Earlier this week, while she sacked her party vice-president J P Singh for making uncharitable remarks against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, she was mum on Singh’s call to make her the PM. Ruling BJP’s consecutive defeats in Assembly and parliamentary by-polls after assuming power in UP has renewed her confidence to resist the saffron juggernaut with full might. The Karnataka elections have, in fact, proved the much-needed morlae-booster for the BSP chief just the year before the big battle of 2019.
After having forged a tie-up with the JD(S) in the southern state, she was instrumental in making the Congress join the front and foiled the BJP’s bid to form the government despite emerging as the largest party. After the elections, Mayawati managed to get a ministerial berth for her lone MLA in the state. In pursuance of her bigger goal and chasing her dream, the BSP leader is now playing her cards carefully. Two consecutive defeats in 2014 and 2017 had many political pundits write her off. But in a paradigm shift in strategy, the BSP extended support to SP candidates in Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls, which saw the ruling BJP in the state bite the dust. A stunned BJP couldn’t have imagined the two arch rivals would join hands, but the pattern was repeated in the Kairna and Noorpur bypolls, consolidating the SP-BSP ties.
The Mayawati-Sonia Gandhi bonhomie, evident at the swearing-in of Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy two months ago, was an indication enough for the political pundits to gauge Mayawati’s indispensability in propelling any prospective political combination at the national level to take on the BJP.In case of regional alliances, her party’s vote share can help the ally to sail through in a close contest.
Though in constant talks with regional forces, Mayawati, who has been nurturing PM dreams for long, knows fully well that they can be realised only with the Congress on her side. That’s why she was prompt in sacking J P Singh for making incendiary remarks against Rahul. Moreover, she has reoriented herself in the recent past expecting a bigger role she may have to play at the national level. She is believed to have spelt out the number of seats her party will contest in politically crucial UP to ally Akhilesh, who is more than willing to make compromises in order to defeat the BJP.
Preparations for electoral battle
■ The BSP is negotiating a ‘package deal’ with the Congress for a tie-up in three states — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh
■ Mayawati is also said to be planning to contest Lok Sabha elections after 14 years so that she emerges as combined Opposition’s PM choice should they succeed in stopping BJP juggernaut