Stating that there are no enemies in politics, SP’s national general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav Tuesday extended an olive branch to rival BSP and said if the two parties joined hands, they can effectively wipe out the BJP from Uttar Pradesh. Though not fond of BSP chief Mayawati, Ram Gopal asserted that her party cannot be written off in UP’s politics as its vote bank had remained intact.
“Agar hum eik ho jayein toh Bhajapa hawa ho jayegi (If the SP and the BSP join hands, the BJP will vanish into thin air),” Ram Gopal told The Indian Express.
A Rajya Sabha member and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s brother, Ram Gopal is in Lucknow to coordinate the party’s efforts for the elections to the Legislative Council scheduled for January 23.
On the past and the present acrimony between the two parties, the senior SP leader said: “In politics, you only have opponents and not enemies.”
Recalling the 1993 UP Assembly elections, when the two parties had contested in alliance, he said the deal was finalised in 15 minutes. “I sat with (then BSP chief) Kanshi Ramji and finalised the formula to share 425 seats. Kanshi Ram’s vision was clear,” he said, and added that “Mayawati had no role in it”.
In 1993, the BSP had contested 164 seats and won 67 while the SP had contested 256 seats winning 109. The government was formed with Mulayam as the chief minister. The relationship, however, later soured and the BSP withdrew support. She went on to form the government with the help of the BJP in 1995.
“We had contested the elections together, but it also true that the BSP gained prominence due to us after that,” Ram Gopal said.
The senior SP leader said the BSP might appear to be at its weakest after the drubbing in the last year’s Lok Sabha polls and the exit of several senior leaders, but “it still remains a force to reckon with”. “The vote bank of the BSP is still intact and exodus of leaders will have no effect on it. The BSP will remain relevant in politics,” he said.
Ram Gopal claimed that the Assembly elections in 2017 will witness a triangular contest between the SP, the BJP and the BSP. “The Congress may emerge in some places but effectively it will be a triangular contest everywhere. We, however, will win,” he added.
Asked whether he will initiate talks with the BSP chief to forge an alliance, the SP leader said, “It is not possible with Mayawati. Her psychology is best understood by Satish Chandra Mishra. I have good relations with Mishra. Still, I reiterate that there is no enmity in politics, there are only political difference on the basis of ideology.”