WITH NITISH Kumar back in the NDA camp, Lalu Yadav’s ‘BJP Hatao Desh Bachao’ rally in Patna on August 27 may go a long way in predicting whether an anti-BJP grand alliance between SP and BSP is possible before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
While SP chief Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati are expected to share the stage for the first time, many leaders said that without Nitish, the two are unlikely to accept each other in any kind of a formal arrangement.
“Vote base is also a factor. Jatavs are BSP’s core vote base and Yadavs are with SP. Both cannot come together because Yadav had dominated over Jatavs during the previous SP rule,” said an SP leader.
Leader Udaiveer Singh, considered close to Akhilesh, said that SP and BSP have so far not held talks regarding the alliance. “But we are always open to unity of secular forces… Lalu was emerging as the father figure for the grand alliance at national level,” he added.
BSP state chief Ram Achal Rajbhar refused to comment on Mayawati attending the rally in Patna. However, on the possibility of an alliance between SP and BSP, he said: “Lok Sabha elections are still far away. The party chief is yet to make any announcement. BSP had contested elections in alliance with SP in 1993 and with Congress in 1996 and both times, SP and Congress had benefited.”
JD (U) national general secretary Akhilesh Katiyar, however, said: “Possibilities of SP and BSP coming together does not seem feasible. More will become clear in the rally.” He claimed that Congress will be the biggest hurdle in the formation of such a grand alliance “because of its attitude of responding late in important political developments”.
“By supporting Nitish in forming the government in Bihar, BJP has attracted non-Yadav OBC voters. Nitish belongs to Kurmi caste, which has considerable presence in eastern UP and the bordering districts of Bihar,” said a BJP leader.
The statements come amid SP and BSP leaders, along with members of other Opposition parties, coming together to boycott the Budget Session of the Assembly, which concluded on Thursday. BSP also took part in SP’s initiative to hold a ‘mock House’.
Mayawati, who had recently resigned from the Rajya Sabha accusing Centre of not allowing her to speak in Parliament, on Thursday accused Nitish of cheating the people of Bihar. In a statement, she said: “…people had had given a mandate to the grand alliance of secular parties against BJP and ‘Modi wave’… and the mandate was supposed to be honoured for five years…”