By Pradeep Kapoor
LUCKNOW: BSP national president Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav are moving ahead cautiously towards an alliance to defeat BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
In separate meetings with party workers, press statements and media interactions, both leaders have criticised the BJP governments at the Centre and as well in the in state and expressed their resolve to remove them in the elections. The recent victory in three Lok Sabha seats and one assembly seats has boosted the morale of opposition parties, making them realize that BJP could be defeated in the Lok Sabha polls through alliance.
While Akhilesh Yadav has repeatedly said that he is prepared to play second fiddle to BSP in order to achieve the bigger objective of removing BJP from the Centre, Mayawati has also expressed her willingness to join an alliance, provided she gets a respectable number of seats. At the same time she told her party workers that the decision on the alliance would be taken once the elections are announced.
BSP is likely to claim 36 seats where it was placed second in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls although it could not win a single seat. Similarly, Samajwadi Party was placed second in 31 seats and won five seats, all by the family members of party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, including Dimple Yadav, wife of Akhilesh Yadav.
Akhilesh Yadav has said that he is willing to sacrifice two to five seats for BSP in order achieve the bigger mission of dislodging BJP from the Centre. But the two parties have to accommodate Ajit Singh’s RLD. With the recent victory of RLD candidate in Kairana Lok Sabha by-election, the powerful jat community is returning to the party led by the son of former prime minister Charan Singh. After the Muzaffarnagar communal riots the jat community had gone to BJP, which helped the saffron party in its big win in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and the 2017 assembly polls in UP.
But the victory in Kairana cannot be taken as fool-proof evidence of the jat community entirely returning to the Charan Singh family party; and so boosted the morale of Samajwadi Party, BSP and Congress for working on an alliance. Although party president Ajit Singh announced that he would not contest the polls due to old age, his son Jayant Choudhry could contest, besides some other leader from party. Since RLD was placed second in Mathura they have claim there too.
The only problem in the alliance is from Congress, which had won only two seats in Lok Sabha and was placed second in six places. They have six MLAs and six per cent votes although they are claiming more than 10 seats. Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi got elected from Rae Bareli and Amethi respectively because Samajwadi Party did not put up candidates against them.
Samajwadi Party and BSP had a bitter experience with Congress whenever they entered into an alliance with it. Way back in 1996 BSP entered into an alliance with Congress, contesting in 300 seats and leaving 125 seats for the national party. After the polls BSP terminated the alliance blaming the Congress for its failure to get its votes transferred to the BSP candidates while Mayawati claimed that her party votes were transferred to the Congress candidates.
Similarly in the 2017 assembly polls Akhilesh Yadav joined hands with Rahul Gandhi and both of them did road shows together but results were miserable for both parties. Now the onus is on Rahul Gandhi to ensure the formation of the grand alliance without asking for more seats to defeat BJP.
There is realisation among all the parties that unless they join hands and form a grand alliance it would be difficult to dislodge BJP, which had won 73 out of the total 80 seats in UP. Smaller parties like Nishad Party and Peace Party may also join the alliance, provided they get some consideration in seat sharing. (IPA Service)