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Desperate times? At loggerheads for decades, Mayawati and Mulayam share stage in UP’s Mainpuri after 25 years

The infamous 'Guesthouse Kaand' had driven SP and BSP apart, making Mayawati and Mulayam arch enemies. However, after the BJP's overwhelming performances in UP in 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 assembly elections, it is probably political desperation that has driven the two parties together again.

After almost 25 years of political rivalry, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati shared the stage with SP’ patriarch, Mulayam Singh Yadav at a rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri on Friday.

In the rally, which was organised to spread a message of bonhomie between both the parties, Mayawati campaigned for Mulayam and asked people to vote for the SP founder in Mainpuri. This time, Mulayam Singh Yadav, instead of contesting from Azamgarh, is contesting from Mainpuri constituency in the Lok Sabha elections 2019.

This is the first time the two stalwarts are seen together after 1993. the two parties forged an alliance to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1993. After the BJP wave took over Uttar Pradesh politics after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992, Mulayam and BSP founder Kanshi Ram decided to forge a historic alliance to tackle the resurgent BJP and to keep the saffron party out of power.

The coalition formed the government with Congress’s support from the outside. But the tie-up could not last long. Political rivalry and bickering had followed. Finally, the infamous guesthouse incident, where Mayawati was attacked and by SP goons had ended the alliance.

In June 1995, when BSP had announced taking back its support from the Mulayam government, she was attacked by SP goons inside the Meerabai guesthouse in Lucknow. Reports say that the goons had beaten her up and had torn up her clothes when BJP MLA Bhahmadutt Dwivedi had to risked his life to fight with the goons and rescue Mayawati. Mayawati and Mulayam had been archenemies since then.

On January 12, 2019, SP and BSP once again declared, in a joint press conference done by BSP supremo Mayawati and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, that they will be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections under an alliance. This opportunistic alliance is forged to basically tackle the BJP before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, otherwise, the party insiders also believe that this alliance will not work in both the party’s favor.

In fact, along with other MLA’, SP MLA from Sirsaganj of Firozabad, Hari Om Yadav had raised serious qualms over the coalition between the SP and BSP for the Lok Sabha Elections.

Meanwhile, Mayawati, while campaigning for SP’ patriarch, Mulayam Singh Yadav in the rally in Mainpuri, took a jibe at PM Narendra Modi and called him a ‘fake OBC’. “Isme koi sandeh nahi hai ki inhone (Mulayam) SP ke banner ke tale UP mein sabhi samaj ke logon ko apni party mein joda hai. Ye PM Modi ki tarah nakli veh farzi pichde varg ke nahi hain, Mulayam ji asli hain. janam-jaat pichde varg ke hain, Mayawati said.

Responding to critics who raised questions on BSP-SP alliance, Mayawati, a former Uttar Pradesh CM said, “They want to know why I had entered an alliance despite my past equations with Mulayam Singh Ji and the state guest house episode. But we sometimes have to take such tough decisions, keeping national interests in mind.”

It is, however, no secret that the only thing that has driven SP and BSP together is political desperation. After BJP’s massive sweep of Lok Sabha seats in 2014 and a landslide victory in 2017 assembly elections, both parties have been reduced to their weakest level in a long time.

Meanwhile, the SP-BS-RLD alliance is contesting on all the 80 Lok Sabha seats of the state with SP contesting on 37 seats, BSP on 38 and RLD on three seats. Two seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli were left for the Congress without any pre-poll understanding.

Whether or not the alliance manages to hold on to their caste-based vote banks in the general election remains to be seen as Uttar Pradesh is set to vote in all seven phases. Results will be declared on May 23.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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