Mayawati hints at breaking up with SP, to go solo in bypolls

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati told party office-bearers on Monday to prepare to fight 11 upcoming assembly bypolls in Uttar Pradesh on their own, raising doubts about the continuation of her party’s electoral alliance with the Samajwadi Party (SP) that fared poorly in the recently concluded general elections.

Addressing a meeting in Delhi, Mayawati directed office-bearers, MLAs and newly elected MPs from Uttar Pradesh to not depend on the alliance to win bypolls on seats that had fallen vacant because the sitting MLAs were elected to the Lok Sabha. Ten of these seats were held by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and one by the SP.

The two regional powerhouses buried years of acrimony to come together last year and forged what was considered a formidable caste coalition to take on the BJP in the general elections.

But the alliance failed to stop the BJP, which won 62 of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats.

The BSP won 10 seats, up from zero in 2014 while the SP remained stuck at its 2014 tally of five — though it lost a number of Yadav family pocket boroughs, including Kannauj, where SP chief Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple lost by around 12,000 votes.

A senior BSP leader present at Monday’s meeting said that Mayawati blamed the poor show on an ongoing feud in the Yadav family between Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal, who formed a separate outfit and cut into the Yadav vote bank in key seats.

“Samajwadi Party failed to transfer its votes to BSP candidates. The Yadav community, considered the core vote base of the SP, voted for the BJP candidates on majority of the seats, dumping the alliance candidate,” the leader quoted Mayawati as saying. The BSP chief could not even save “family seats”, he quoted Mayawati as saying.

“Shivpal used his influence to transfer a large chunk of Yadav votes to the BJP. It clearly indicates that Akhilesh has lost grip on the Yadav community voters. He was unable to transfer the SP vote to alliance candidates,” Mayawati added, according to the leader.

There was, however, no official statement from the party.

The leader said that Mayawati did not directly talk about the future of the alliance and appeared to favour a “wait and watch” approach.

Her comments appeared to have taken the SP leadership by surprise. Party spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary said the party will meet to discuss the issue. “We are yet to receive an official statement of the BSP chief,” he said.

In his constituency of Azamgarh, Akhilesh said he was not aware of Mayawati’s statement. “Hard work is needed on the ground to defeat the BJP and our party will do that,” he said.

BJP spokesperson Salabh Mani Tripathi called the alliance opportunistic and forged to serve vested interests. “It was not an alliance of ideology and principles. Akhilesh should come clear on the charges levelled by Mayawati that he failed to transfer SP votes to the BSP,” he said.

The BSP chief has been in Delhi since May 25 to review the performance of the party in the Lok Sabha elections. She has redrawn the BSP’s UP unit and dissolved all divisional, zonal and assembly units. The district unit organisations will continue to function.

First Published:
Jun 04, 2019 00:31 IST

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