LUCKNOW: On May 23, the picture of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi warming up to BSP chief Mayawati on the occasion went viral. A little over four months later, a photograph showed her sharing the frame with Congress discard and former Chhattisgarh CM Ajit Jogi.
Her decision to go with Jogi in Chhattisgarh and solo in MP and Rajasthan left not only political pundits but also her prospective allies in UP flabbergasted.
It’s a general belief among political observers that the outcome in three out of five poll-bound states — MP, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan — will decide the direction of any opposition alliance and seat-sharing among partners ahead of 2019.
However, Mayawati’s new strategy has introduced an element of intrigue to the Opposition’s plot. And many believe Congress is equally responsible for this falling apart. As per the political observers, Congress had been over-confident of its victory in the three states and so its leadership tried to haggle with Mayawati over seat sharing.
Announcing the alliance in Lucknow, Mayawati came out with the two conditions she used to put for alliance with any party.
“I have been repeating that our party will tie up with anyone only if they give us a respectable number of seats. Secondly, the party that we tie up with should share our ideology of ‘sarvjan hitaye, sarvjan sukhaye’ (development and peace for everyone). In UP, I have been CM four times. Each time, we followed a policy of development for everyone. The party we tie-up with needs to follow the same policy.”
It is no hidden a fact that BSP chief’s stand over MP and Rajasthan will have repercussions beyond the two states in central India.
“It will cut Congress’s votes and help the ruling BJP,” says political scientist Ashutosh Mishra. Not only this, it also reflects Mayawati’s desire to drive a hard bargain for LS seats.