LUCKNOW: Completely ruling out the possibility of an alliance with Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati tweeted on Sunday that her party would go solo in the 2022 assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Amid reports about the possibility of BSP aligning with the AIMIM in UP, just like it did in last year’s assembly polls in Bihar, the ex-UP chief minister tweeted about the decision to go solo in the UP and Uttarakhand Assembly polls slated early next year.
In the 2020 assembly polls in Bihar, the BSP had contested in alliance with AIMIM and ex-union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP. While the AIMIM won a significant 5 seats (in Muslim dominated pockets Seemanchal region), the BSP’s lone seat came from Chainpur in Kaimur district. However, BSP’s lone MLA Mohd Jama Khan ditched the party after the results and joined the ruling JD(U) later and is now a minister in the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U)-BJP government.
In her tweets on Sunday, Mayawati made it clear that her party has only announced an alliance in Punjab with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). In Punjab, the SAD will contest 97 seats, while BSP will field candidates on 20 seats. Importantly, Punjab, UP and Uttarakhand are among the five states where assembly polls will be held next year.
Mayawati’s tweets came amid the district panchayat chairperson polls in UP, where inability of BSP to field its candidate in some districts, including Mau and Ghaziabad (despite having won more district panchayat members seats than BJP and SP) indirectly helped the BJP candidates win unopposed.
This has fuelled rumours about possibility of BSP and BJP coming close together after the 2022 assembly polls in UP, in the event of a hung assembly.
As per political observers in UP, though the BSP supported candidates had not fared well in the recent panchayat polls in the state (where the panchayat polls since a decade and half have seen direct contest between SP and BSP backed candidates), the party still remains a considerable force in the state as its perhaps the only party having a committed base vote of scheduled caste voters.
“It’s not the first time that Mayawati has announced going solo in the 2022 polls in UP, as on January 15 also she had made a similar announcement. By making it clear that she will fight the 2022 polls alone, the BSP supremo is attempting to ensure that the party’s base vote remains intact and doesn’t help some other political party in case of an alliance,” Varanasi based political journalist Ajay Rai maintained.
In the 2017 UP Assembly polls, the BSP which had contested alone, finished a distant third behind the BJP and SP-Cong alliance, with just 19 seats and 22.23% vote share, which was 61 seats less and 3.68% lesser vote share than the party’s 2012 assembly polls tally.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BSP had dumped its decade and a half enmity with the Samajwadi Party and contested the general elections in alliance with the Akhilesh Yadav-led party in the state. The party which had drawn a blank in the 2014 general elections in UP, emerged the biggest gainer with 10 seats, despite losing 0.34% vote, while its alliance partner SP held on to the five seats tally of 2014.
After the 2019 LS polls, the honeymoon between the SP and BSP ended and recently the bitter rivalry between the two parties has reached its peak, particularly in the wake of reports about rebel BSP MLAs being in contact with SP leadership to contest the next assembly polls on SP tickets.
The SP has made it clear that it won’t align with any mainstream political party in UP and is instead focusing on forging ties with smaller parties to dent the non-Yadav OBC and non-Jatav scheduled caste vote which was crucial in BJP sweeping the 2017 polls with historic 312 seats.