PATNA: By deciding to part ways from the Mahagatbandhan (grand alliance), the Samajwadi party has given a major jerk to the Lalu Yadav-Nitish Kumar-Congress combine’s recent effort at political consolidation at a time when the Bihar Assembly election is to be announced.
Being fragile from its inception, the coalition was planned primarily to check the division of votes against BJP after the saffron party’s spectacular win in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Now the coalition is going haywire as recently, another coalition partner NCP had dumped the alliance and decided to go it alone.
Ironically, SP walked away only three days after the ‘Swabhiman rally’, where Samajwadi party leader Shiv Pal Singh Yadav, who is party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother, publicly declared that his party is ready to do any sacrifice for the cause of a secular alliance in Bihar.
Samajwadi Party was never a major player in Bihar politics. In its best performance, the party could win only four seats and managed to get only 4.5 per cent votes, but in the current political situation, it may prove to be a game spoiler for the secular alliance.
The party has given indications that it can field about 150 candidates and will also explore the possibilities of forming a third front. Nationalist Congress Party and the Pappu Yadav led Jan Adhikar Manch may join hands with SP.
Even in the last Assembly election in 2010, the party put up candidates in 146 seats but failed to get even a single seat and got only less than 1 per cent of the votes. SP may prove a favourite destination for those politicians who failed to get a berth in mainstream parties. Political observers feel that Samajwadi Party (SP) may not pull off a miracle in the election but will damage the future of many alliance candidates.
The current move is also seen as backlash of recent hobnobbing of Nitish with Congress leaders, particularly Rahul Gandhi. Yadav was also annoyed with the way Nitish projected himself as the tallest leader of the alliance in his early campaign. The recent seat-sharing formula was also cause for discontent among parties.