Mayawati ditches mahagathbandhan, will contest assembly by-polls without SP
Before Lok Sabha elections, former rivals SP and BSP forged an unlikely alliance for 80 parliamentary seats of Uttar Pradesh. The parties assumed this was the best way to stop BJP's juggernaut. However, results showed that the alliance didn't work at all. Stung by defeat, BSP Chief Mayawati has decided to pull the plug on the 'friendship'. Here are more details.
Putting decades of animosity aside, Mayawati joined hands with Akhilesh Yadav. The third member of their 'mahagathbandhan' was Ajit Singh's RLD. While SP contested on 37 seats, BSP fielded candidates from 38. Proving all caste arithmetic wrong, BJP won 62 seats in UP. BSP won 10 seats (upping its tally from 0 in 2014) and SP won 5 seats. RLD couldn't open its account.
After results, Mayawati went into post-mortem mode. She removed in-charges of Uttarakhand, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Gujarat, and Rajasthan. Three state presidents of Delhi and Madhya Pradesh were also removed. On Monday, Mayawati convened a meeting of top BSP officials in Delhi to assess the defeat. At the important meeting, Mayawati decided that BSP would contest assembly by-polls alone, without SP's help.
Confirming the development on Tuesday, Mayawati said, "It is not a permanent break. We shouldn't have lost our votes. Even strong candidates were defeated. In Kannauj, Dimple Yadav lost. We have to think about this."
Notably, elections will be held in 11 assembly seats in UP after their MLAs got elected to Parliament. It is unclear if Mayawati would field candidates on all seats. Reportedly, Mayawati told party members that BSP will have to strengthen its organizational structure and not depend on allies for votes. It is learned that she also fumed at SP for losing its bastions.
Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple lost from Kannauj, a seat which is essentially an SP bastion. Kannauj has some 3.5 lakh Yadav votes, and in any other election, this number would have been enough for a Yadav to sail through. But 2019 polls busted several myths. In her interaction with party members, Mayawati slammed Akhilesh for "failing to ensure" even his wife's win.
"Our votes transferred to Dimple but Yadav votes didn't. Yadav votes were not transferred to us but our votes did go to them. Samajwadi Party won only where Muslims voted heavily for them. Even (Akhilesh Yadav's) own family didn't win the Yadav votes," she said.
While Mayawati seems stern to end the alliance, Akhilesh said he had no idea about what is happening. Akhilesh, who was in his constituency Azamgarh on Monday, said, "There is only one way to defeat BJP and that is to work on the ground. I have no idea about BSP's decision." And, SP cadres said only Mayawati benefited from the alliance.
"If the coalition hadn't happened, Mayawati would have been at 0 and SP would have won 25 seats. [The] Yadav community voted for her but [Mayawati] vote share went to BJP," said SP MLA Hariom Yadav. It seems the knives are out.