Slogans of zindabad for BSP chief Mayawati, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and RLD chief Ajit Singh, and tributes to BSP founder Kanshi Ram, Ram Manohar Lohia and Bhimrao Ambedkar — in the first political programme attended by BSP and Samajwadi Party leaders after announcement of the alliance, the balancing act was clear.
The event had been organised to declare BSP leader Satveer Nagar as the alliance’s candidate for Gautam Buddh Nagar Lok Sabha constituency. Nagar is the first candidate of the alliance to be announced, with the SP yet to declare any nominee. The BSP and SP will contest 38 seats each of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats, leaving two for the Congress. The RLD is likely to get the remaining two.
At the event, held at a farmhouse in Greater Noida, Rajya Sabha MP and SP general secretary Surendra Singh Nagar was the chief guest from the SP side while the BSP had one in its western Uttar Pradesh in-charge Shamshuddin Raeen.
Senior leaders of both parties urged members to work unitedly to ensure the BSP’s win. RLD Gautam Buddh Nagar president Vijendra Yadav assured his party’s support too for Nagar.
While the BSP had won Gautam Buddh Nagar in 2009, the seat was taken by the BJP in its clean sweep in 2014. The seat is dominated by Thakurs, followed by Gurjjars, Jatavs and Muslims. “The division of Muslim votes between the SP and BSP and inclination of upper caste votes towards the BJP had led to its win in 2014. Now, pooling of the Gurjjars, Muslims and Jatavs will ensure the alliance’s win,” said BSP leader Ishwari Gautam.
SP MP Surendra Nagar called the SP-BSP alliance a coalition of workers and said, “This is an opportunity to give a new prime minister from this state.”
BSP leader Raeen said Mayawati was a “mass leader” and added, “When somebody makes a remark on Behenji, workers of SP come to the streets… Likewise, BSP people should understand that if any such thing happens to the SP, you should give a befitting reply. Because this is an alliance of the hearts.”
BSP leader Hazi Imran shouted slogans of ‘Jai Samajwad’. Another party leader, Satyaveer Gurjar, pointed out that Gautam Buddh Nagar is the hometown of Mayawati.
SP district president Veer Singh Yadav assured that all party workers would cooperate with the BSP and concluded his speech by saying ‘Jai Akhilesh, Jai Mayawati’.
The next speaker, BSP leader Azad Singh, noted that the next PM would not be from Gujarat but UP. “We have to decide that from this land of Behenji.”
However, some hurdles remain — starting with PMship. Outside the venue, when a group of youth leaders asked SP district secretary Ramveer Singh Solanki who the PM candidate of the SP-BSP alliance would be, Solanki said it would be decided after the elections. When a worker pressed, Solanki said, “Just tell the voters we have to ensure Mayawatiji’s win in Gautam Buddh Nagar in the larger interest of the country.”