Former bitter rivals Mayawati and Mulayam to share stage todayLast updated on Apr 19, 2019, 11:17 am
A possibility of Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav sharing stage with Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati would have raised eyebrows years ago, but 2019 elections are all about unlikely alliances and arithmetic.
And on Friday, politics aficionados will witness a peculiar rally wherein Mayawati will seek votes for Mulayam in Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh, from where he is contesting polls.
Here's all about it.
Decades ago, SP and BSP forged alliance to defeat BJP
To recall, in 1993, Mulayam became UP's Chief Minister with BSP's help. Though BSP founder Kanshi Ram was the one who 'hugged' Mulayam, Mayawati was the contact person.
She exerted immense influence and was sometimes also referred to as backdoor CM.
While the alliance prevented BJP's return in the state, at a time when Ram Janmbhoomi movement was at its peak, it was short-lived.
Two years later, guest house incident ruined the alliance
In 1995, reports emerged that Mayawati was meeting legislators with an intention to withdraw support from the government.
When SP workers heard about it, they allegedly attacked a guest house in Lucknow, where Mayawati was camping.
Furious over the incident, Mayawati immediately dumped SP in the state and joined hands with BJP.
The animosity between the prominent parties deepened thereafter.
SP and BSP buried the hatchet for elections
More than two decades after the guest house incident, SP and BSP joined hands again with the same motive of preventing BJP's return in UP.
In the last general elections, the saffron party won 71 out of 80 seats in UP, BSP drew blank and SP managed to win 5 seats.
The alliance, born out of compulsion, is SP president Akhilesh Yadav's brainchild.
The alliance proved fruitful in by-polls
SP and BSP went for a test drive in 2018 by polls. BSP lent support to SP in Kairana and Gorakhpur by-elections and the candidates won.
Both Kairana and Gorakhpur were BJP strongholds. So the loss, naturally, stung the saffron party.
Working on the same model, SP-BSP divided seats in UP. While BSP got 38 seats, SP will contest on 37 seats.
All eyes are set on Mainpuri
Since the alliance was forged, Mayawati and Akhilesh have been the ones who remained in the spotlight.
Hence, Mainpuri's rally with Mulayam as focal point evoked interest. It would be interesting to see how Mayawati campaigns for Mulayam, or how the SP patriarch reacts on the alliance.
Meanwhile, reports claimed Mulayam wasn't keen to participate in today's rally but his son placated him.
Preparations for the grand rally have been completed
SP-BSP have made mega preparations for this one-of-a-kind event. Raj Kumar, SP's Sadar legislator, said 35,000 people will get food packets.
Mulayam is expected to arrive at the venue by noon. Apart from Mayawati, Akhilesh will also be present at the event. His wife Dimple is also expected.
RLD chief Ajit Singh will be present too. RLD is another constituent of the grand alliance.