A few days after announcing to contest upcoming Assembly by-elections in Uttar Pradesh separately from Samajwadi Party (SP), the BSP on Monday formally announced a break-up with its Lok Sabha poll ally. In a series of tweets, Mayawati said that BSP will contest all future elections alone in the interest of the party and the party’s movement.
Mayawati also blamed SP for her decision and added that while in alliance with SP, she fulfilled the spirit of the coalition and ignored the “anti-BSP” and “anti-Dalit” decisions taken by previous Akhilesh Yadav government.
WATCH | Mayawati pulls the plug on SP-BSP alliance, to go solo in future elections
“However, the behaviour of the SP after the Lok Sabha general elections compels the BSP to think whether it will be possible to defeat the BJP again. That is not possible. So, in the interest of the party and the movement, the BSP will now fight all the major elections on its own,” the BSP supremo tweeted.
Mayawati’s decision comes after an all India meeting of the BSP was held in Lucknow Sunday followed by a late night round of state-wide meetings. Addressing them, sources said, Mayawati had blamed the Samajwadi Party for the defeat of the alliance in the Lok Sabha polls. The BSP had won 10 of 38 seats it contested, while SP recorded a victory on 5 out of 37 seats.
Earlier this month, Mayawati had announced that the party would contest the upcoming bypolls separately but had kept the window open for an alliance in the future. Adding that it was not a “permanent break” with the SP, Mayawati had then said that she could work with Akhilesh Yadav again in the future if he “fulfills his political duties”. Mayawati also blamed “internal sabotage” in the SP’s core vote base — the “Yadav samaj” — for the poll debacle and said that it “drifted away” from the alliance, even in the SP strongholds.
Sources in the Samajwadi Party suggest that the leadership was in no mood to wait for Mayawati after she blamed Yadavs for the defeat of the alliance in Lok Sabha general elections. Hence, the party cadres were asked to prepare for the upcoming assembly by-polls and to form SP government in the state in 2022.
BSP and SP had joined hands after a gap of over two decades after realising that pooling together of resources may be the only way they can defeat the BJP. In 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 Assembly, the BJP has held complete sway over UP.
Mayawati has now been out of power for seven years in UP (from three-fourths of the seats in 2007) and has a shrinking footprint in the rest of the country. Samajwadi Party, confined largely to Uttar Pradesh, fell to 47 seats in the 2017 Assembly elections from 224 seven years ago. And yet, the two parties are no pushovers in UP, with Mayawati winning 22.23 per cent of the votes even in 2017, and the SP 28.32 per cent. Together, that is just over half of the votes polled in the state, as compared to the BJP’s 41.57 per cent vote share.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls too, at the height of the Modi wave, though the BJP got 42.63 per cent of the votes, the combined vote share of the SP (22.35 per cent) and BSP (19.77 per cent) was only fractionally behind.
The potential of the arithmetic is appealing to both. An analysis of constituency-wise data of the 2017 election by SP-BSP had indicated that the BJP may lose as many as 50 Lok Sabha seats in UP should both the parties come together in 2019. But the results of 2019 polls were contrary to these calculations as BJP won 62 seats alone and its ally Apna Dal (Soneylal) won two of the 80 seats in the state.