In a move that left the political pundits stunned, the RLD has already extended support to the BSP for the elections to the UP Legislative Council scheduled for January 23. With 80 MLAs, the BSP has the numerical strength to win only two seats seats comfortably as 33 members will be electing one MLC. For its third candidate, it has only 14 votes, and has now got much-needed support of RLD’s eight MLAs. The party intends to secure the remaining votes from Independents and smaller parties.
While Mayawati thanked Singh for extending support, the RLD chief sent his party’s state president Munna Singh Chauhan with a bouquet of flowers to BSP supremo on her birthday on Thursday.
While Mayawati and RLD leaders have maintained that the support is meant only for the Legislative Council elections, the increasing bonhomie shows their attempts at gaining new support base in western UP, where the BJP has upset the equations of both the parties.
In Lok Sabha polls, the BSP and RLD suffered major loss in their support base, especially because of the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts in 2013.
Dalits, the main supporters of BSP, and Jats, the support base of the RLD, have traditionally been at loggerheads because of frequent tensions between the two communities. However, the BSP, which earlier preferred the candidates from other castes like Gurjars, Brahmins and Muslims in western UP, is now trying to woo the Jats as was evident in recent press conference of Mayawati.
Talking about the murder of party leader Dharmendra Chaudhary, who was shot dead in Aligarh on January 10, Mayawati said, “The way he was brutally murdered, has caused much sadness in our party and the whole Jat community”.
Chaudhary, a Jat, was named by BSP as its candidate from Atrauli seat for 2017 Assembly elections. “We both have suffered losses and aggrieved people often come together. Now, there is no tension between Jats and Dalits and it will be a solid coalition if the farmers and labourers come together. For now, there is nothing beyond these council elections but Ajit Singh has offered full support to BSP in these elections including the support from other (non- RLD) MLAs,” said an RLD leader, seeking anonymity.
The last time RLD and BSP had been together was in 2003. RLD had been a part of Mayawati-led last BSP-BJP government but had withdrew support and joined the opposition led by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav in 2003. The Mayawati government had eventually fallen, paving way for Mulayam Singh to become the chief minister.