The Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance for Lok Sabha election 2019 is expected to get the formal stamp on Saturday with SP president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP president Mayawati scheduled to address a joint press conference.
It will be for the first time that the two leaders, once bitter foes but now friends, will come together on a common platform to address the media.
Interestingly, the venue zeroed upon for the press conference is neither the SP nor the BSP office. It is a five-star hotel! The date of the announcement, as initially speculated, will not coincide with Mayawati’s birthday which falls on January 15.
Indications that the alliance will be formally announced by the two leaders have been indubitable since the past fortnight. These got further strengthened when Mayawati openly came out in support of Akhilesh Yadav in connection with the recent CBI raids conducted in the alleged illegal mining cases in Uttar Pradesh. She had counselled the SP president not to be intimidated by such steps and had termed the raids as a political conspiracy of the BJP.
This apart, the past couple of days saw posters and banners spring up outside the SP office and at other places in the state capital hailing the `gatbandhan’ (alliance). Written on these posters is `hamare pas gatbandhan hai, Bhajpa ke pas CBI’ (we have an alliance, the BJP has the CBI). The posters carry the photographs of Mayawati and Akhilesh. Also written on some of these posters is `satya pareshan ho sakta hai, parajit nahin’ (truth cannot be defeated, though it can face some problems).
On Friday, the SP president, at a chaupal in Kannauj, gave a clear indication of the SP-BSP ‘gathbandhan’ when he said that both the parties had found the ‘right glue’ to take on the BJP after they combined for the Lok Sabha by-elections in UP in 2018. The coming together of the two parties saw the defeat of the BJP on seats held by UP chief minister Yogi Aditynath (Gorakhpur) and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya (Phulpur).
It will be after 25 years that the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party will contest the polls together in Uttar Pradesh. The proposed pre-poll alliance between the BSP and SP has revived memories of a similar arrangement between the two parties in 1993 when the electoral arrangement was stitched by Mulayam Singh Yadav and Kanshi Ram, who were at the helm of their parties. The 1993 alliance was for the assembly elections held in December of the same year. The SP-BSP alliance had emerged victorious with Mulayam becoming the chief minister for the second time. The alliance fell apart after the State Guest House incident of June 2, 1995, with Mayawati becoming the chief minister. Since then both the BSP and SP have been sworn adversaries till Akhilesh, as the president of his party, decided to bury the hatchet. His gesture was reciprocated by Mayawati.
The proposed alliance between the two parties is for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls to be held in a few months from now.