LUCKNOW: Unprecedented show of the BJP in North-East apparently pushed the political forces in Uttar Pradesh to realign with two arch rivals –SP and BSP—striking a deal to counter the saffron surge in upcoming by-election to Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats on March 11. The results would be announced on March 14.
The BSP, which has no stake as it is not contesting the by-elections, announced its support to SP candidates, thus, setting a tone for a prospective grand alliance ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to stop BJP from repeating a 2014.
BSP announced its support to the SP through its zonal coordinators in Gorakhpur and Allahabad -- Ghanshyam Karwar and Ashok Gautam, respectively -- in the presence of SP leaders.
However, later in the day, BSP chief Mayawati came out with a justification for her decision and denied that it was a political alliance of any kind. She claimed that she had asked her supporters to vote for the party which could defeat the BJP in the by-elections.
Mayawati also put in a rider that the arrangement would be subjected to SP’s support to BSP in the Rajya Sabha elections due later this month. She said that the BSP would, in turn, support the SP in legislative council polls due in April
BSP sources said that the decision came after Mayawati held a series of meetings with her zonal coordinators from Gorakhpur and Phulpur at her residence in Lucknow and that the support was announced for the by-elections only.
“The decision about entering into a pre-poll alliance with the SP will be taken by the party leadership later,'' said BSP state chief Ram Achal Rajbhar.
However, the political pundits feel that the understanding between the two parties is more of a rhetoric at this juncture as neither the SP nor BSP is in a position to defeat BJP which has been consolidated over the years by Yogi Adityanath who has had a sound hold on eastern UP.
The coming together of the two arch rivals -- in a throwback to 1993 when SP and BSP came together to arrest the rise of BJP in the wake of Ram Temple movement – comes almost a year after the two parties were decimated under the saffron surge in 2017 UP assembly elections.
Gorakhpur and Phulpur parliamentary constituencies have five Assembly segments each, all won by BJP and its allies in 2017 Assembly polls.
Interestingly, in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Yogi Adityanath had won Gorakhpur securing over 52 per cent votes He was way ahead of the SP-BSP combined vote share which stood at 38 per cent only. Similarly, in Phulpur, Kesha Maurya had registered a resounding victory by getting around 52.43 per cent votes while SP and BSP, if combined, could get only 37.38 per cent votes.
The Samajwadi Party has fielded Pravin Nishad from Gorakhpur and Nagendra Singh Patel from Phulpur. Many political pundits also attribute the SP-BSP tie-up to Mayawati’s annoyance with Congress for inducting expelled BSP leader
Naseemuddin Siddiqui, who had accused Mayawati of compromising the principles of BR Ambedkar in her lust for money.
However, the deal between two parties, political experts said, could hit the Congress which has charted it own course country’s politically most crucial state.