Arch rivals Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) on Saturday formally announced their pre-poll alliance for Uttar Pradesh, in a significant development that could alter the political landscape ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
In a packed joint press conference addressed by BSP President Mayawati and SP President Akhilesh Yadav, the two parties announced that they would fight 38 seats each out of the total 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in UP, while leaving the two seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli for Congress. The decision on the remaining two seats would be announced soon.
Although the alliance has left two seats for Congress, it has closed the door for the party in the tie-up. Now, the country's most populous state is set for a three-cornered contest in the crucial general polls.
Mayawati stressed that the BSP-SP alliance was long-term and permanent, adding that it would carry forward for the 2022 UP Assembly polls as well. "Our alliance will take away the sleep of the 'guru-chela'," she said while referring to the duo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah.
However, Mayawati, at least thrice, referred to the infamous 1995 Lucknow Guest House incident, in which she was allegedly attacked by SP leaders and she had vowed never to ally with the SP in the future.
She underlined that in the interest of the nation and to keep away the communal forces of 'BJP and company', her party had decided to join forces with SP even as she also recalled the alliance of the two parties in UP in 1993 under the respective party founders -- Kanshi Ram (BSP) and Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP).
"Today, the people are anguished by the narrow and communal policies of the BJP government and the country is facing the same situation as the 1990s, when the Ram Temple movement was at the peak," she noted.
Together, the vote share of the SP and BSP, at more than 40 per cent, exceeds that of the BJP, according to the previous polls.
"Our alliance is not just an alliance of two parties, but a strong message of revolution, as we represent the majority of the population in UP," she added. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, BJP had scooped up 71 seats of the total 80 in UP, while SP won three and Congress two. The BSP could win none.
Ahead of the 2017 UP polls, Akhilesh and Congress President Rahul Gandhi had addressed a joint press conference at the same venue to announce their tie-up. However, while SP could just win 47 seats, Congress won only seven of the total 403 Assembly seats. The BSP had won 19 seats then, while the BJP won about 325 seats.
Mayawati said the alliance had not included the Congress since they felt the party does not transfer its votes to its alliance partners. She said the SP-BSP alliance was strong enough to stop BJP from coming back to power at the Centre.
On January 4, the two leaders had met at New Delhi and finalised the seat-sharing ratio among them, she claimed, and recalled that the two parties had won all the bypolls in UP last year, which reflected their potential.
She flayed Congress for its alleged anti-people policies and claimed that unemployment and corruption always peaked under its rule in UP and the Centre. Mayawati noted that Congress and BJP are similar in their economic policies and vision.
Mayawati also referred to the Bofors and Rafale defence deals to attack both the Congress and BJP governments for their alleged roles in scams.
The BSP president further castigated the Modi government for allegedly misusing central agencies, such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), for political vendetta, while referring to the recent CBI raids in the UP mining scam and reports of the agency planning to quiz Akhilesh in the case.
"There is undeclared Emergency in the country just like the Emergency of 1977 under the Congress rule," she asserted.
She said the alliance would emerge victorious as long as the Modi government does not stir the temple movement and tamper with the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
Meanwhile, Yadav thanked Mayawati for acceding to the alliance formula and giving equal seats to SP to fight. He claimed all the sections of society were suffering under the present BJP government and they were looking for a change.
"The BJP government has turned UP, which is the land of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna, into a highly divisive society, while innocents are being killed in fake encounters," he claimed.
He noted that while loans of big capitalists were being waived, farmers were committing suicide and the youth were unemployed.
Both the leaders gave a clarion call to their respective party workers and cadres to work together and be aware of the alleged conspiracy of the BJP to create a wedge at the ground level.
"BJP will hatch conspiracies and can even engineer riots for political reasons, but we have to expose their game plan while fostering brotherhood among our cadres," Yadav said.