Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav will kickstart their joint rallies for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections from Deoband in Saharanpur district on April 7. Rashtriya Lok Dal president Chaudhary Ajit Singh will also address the poll meeting which has been timed to coincide with the holy days of ‘navratra’. Saharanpur, along with seven other Lok Sabha constituencies of western Uttar Pradesh, goes to the poll in the first phase of the seven-tiered elections on April 11. Notification for the first phase of polls will be issued on March 18.

The second BSP-SP-RLD joint rally is likely to be held in Agra on April 16, two days prior to the second phase of the Lok Sabha polls on April 18. Eight constituencies, including Agra, will go to the polls in the second phase.

Saharanpur is in BSP’s quota following the 38/37 seat-sharing arrangement worked out between Mayawati and Akhilesh. The RLD, which is a part of the alliance, will contest from Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar and Mathura. The alliance partners—BSP and SP – had decided not to contest from Rae Bareli and Amethi, the Congress bastions represented by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

It will be for the first time in more than 25 years that the once sworn adversaries, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, will share a common platform. It was way back in 1993 that the then SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP founder Kanshi Ram had shared a common platform and had addressed a joint rally. The Mulayam-Kanshi Ram bonhomie later culminated in the SP-BSP government headed by Mulayam in December 1993. Their alliance was, however, short-lived and the government fell in 1995 after the infamous State Guest House incident.

Since then, the SP and BSP had been at loggerheads till Mayawati and Akhilesh decided to bury the hatchet and forge an electoral understanding for the Lok Sabha bye-elections in 2018 and now for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The Samajwadi Party camp is clearly upbeat following the alliance with the BSP and RLD. Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary claimed that a new wave has emerged in the state politics after these parties formalised a tie-up. He said the SP president Akhilesh Yadav is of the view that the people’s inclination towards alliance has created a panic in the Bharatiya Janata Party camp. This is evident in the snide comments being made against the opposition parties by the BJP leaders, the SP spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, names for four other candidates for the Lok Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh were declared by Akhilesh Yadav on Friday. They are Vinod Kumar Singh alias Pandit Singh from Gonda, Ram Sagar Rawat (Barabanki – reserved), Tabassum Hasan (Kairana) and Shafiqur Rehman Barq (Sambhal) . Tabassum Hasan is the sitting MP from Kairana.

Earlier, Ratiram Bansal had been declared the SP candidate from Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh. In MP too, the SP and BSP have entered into a tie-up for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.