Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav Saturday announced an alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections at a press conference in Lucknow. Both parties will be sharing 38 seats each out of the state’s 80 parliamentary constituencies. “We (BSP-SP) have decided to contest upcoming Lok Sabha elections together, this will lead to a new political revolution in the country,” Mayawati said today, adding that the joint press conference will give “sleepless nights to BJP”.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav said the alliance is necessary to “defeat the arrogance of BJP.” “It was necessary for BSP and SP to come together. BJP can go to any extent to create differences in our workers, we must be united and counter any such tactic,” he said.
Here are the highlights from today’s announcement
* The former rivals, BSP and SP, have decided to contest on 38 seats each in the 80-member house and have left 2 seats to other parties, and Amethi and Rae Bareli seat to the Congress. In 2014, the BSP was runner-up in 34 seats, and the SP in 31.
* The parties kept the Congress, which is trying to bring opposition parties on board to stitch a grand alliance, out, but said they will not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
* Mayawati said the parties won’t gain anything from the Congress. “We won’t gain anything by including Congress in our alliance. Both BSP and SP have experienced in the past that Congress’s vote is not transferrable.” Drawing a parallel between the BJP and the Congress, Mayawati said the Congress had imposed the Emergency while the BJP is responsible for an undeclared Emergency
*Taking over from where the BSP chief stopped, SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav said, “The BJP has raked up the issue of caste in UP. People are being killed in encounters because of their caste. ”
* Discounting the Congress party and the possibility of party president Rahul Gandhi as opposition’s Prime Minister choice, Akhilesh hinted at supporting Mayawati. When asked if he will support Mayawati for PM, the SP chief gave a cryptic remark: “You know who is my choice. Uttar Pradesh has given Prime Ministers in the past and trend will be repeated again.”
* The BSP-SP press conference comes 24 years after the infamous guest house episode, in which Mayawati and her MLAs were confined to a guest house in Lucknow by Mulayam Singh Yadav-led SP. If Mulayam contests the next elections, as he has announced he would from Mainpuri, he will also get BSP’s support.
* SP and BSP had contested Assembly elections in alliance first in 1993, and the parties had helped each other with their respective vote banks. In 1991, the BSP contested 386 seats, won 12 seat and got 35.32 lakh votes. When both parties contested in alliance in 1993, BSP got over 55 lakh votes in 164 seats it contested and SP got 89 lakh votes in 256 seats in contested. Both later formed the government with support of the Congress and Mulayam became chief minister. After around 18 months, BSP withdrew support and formed the government with support of BJP.
* Akhilesh and Mayawati, who had been exchanging barbs of ‘Bua’ and ‘Babua’ against each other during electioneering in the last Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, had previously come together for three Lok Sabha seats in the UP bypolls last year (and won all of it).
* The SP-BSP alliance is no less significant than the JD(S)-Congress alliance in Karnataka or the recent Congress victories in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh. It has the potential not only to upset the BJP applecart but send the Congress a message that it cannot dictate terms to regional forces.
* The tie-up could prove to be a deterrent for the incumbent BJP in the state. For an analysis of constituency-wise poll data of the last Assembly election in 2017 shows that the BJP may lose as many as 50 Lok Sabha seats in UP when the SP and BSP votes are combined.