SP and BSP have announced their alliance for the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, proving the old saying that there are no real friends or enemies, just benefits in politics. The leaders of the two political parties, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, striked a 38 seats each for the 80 Uttar Pradesh parliamentary seat deal leaving out the Congress Bastions of Rae Bareilly and Amethi allowing the former Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son, the current Congress President Rahul Gandhi, a free run from their side.
This Alliance comes 24 years after BSP and SP split in 1995 after Mulayam Singh, the then SP President and Akhilesh Yadav’s father was ousted from the Chief Minister’s post. Back in 1993, the two parties had contested the 1993 UP assembly elections in an alliance — the BSP had contested 164 seats and won 67 while the SP had contested 256 seats and bagged 109 in the then House of 425. This was before Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh. The government was formed with Mulayam Singh Yadav as the chief minister. However, the SP-BSP alliance lasted only for two years. As the relationship soured, the BSP withdrew support, resulting in the fall of the Mulayam Singh government in 1995.
The break-up is particularly remembered for the infamous guest house incident. It all happened as an unruly mob of SP workers barged into a guest house in Lucknow on June 2, 1995, where Mayawati was holding a meeting.
According to various news reports from that time her room was vandalised and the SP workers attempted to assault her at the VVIP guest house and hurled casteist slurs and sexual abuses at her. Even the BSP MLAs present in the room failed to protect her. It was BJP MLA BD Dwivedi who eventually entered the room and escorted Mayawati to safety.
After that bitter episode, Mayawati went on to form the government with the BJP’s help.
Mayawati went on to swear that she will never mend her ties with Mulayam or SP ever again.
But in politics, as in life, never say never again.
But ,question is, will this alliance be fruitful in 2019 Lok Sabha Elections? Let’s look at the votebanks. SP targets Muslims and BSP targets Dalits. The common thread between the two votebanks being that they are economically weaker section. PM Narendra Modi led BJP Government since its inception has launched Ujjwala Yojana so that every household has gas cylinders, Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana for cheap health care services, and many more including the Jan Dhan Yojna or Jiva Jyoti Bima Yojna. His government has recently launched the 10% quota reservation for economically weak irrespective of caste and religion. The poor, it seems, have several saviors. But everyone seems to have missed a trick. With everyone targeting the lower income class, nobody seems to be giving any importance to the middle class. No tax breaks. No Utility Subsidies. Nothing to benefit the middle class which is the new backbone of the country. According to economists Sandhya Krishnan and Neeraj Hatekar (“Rise Of The New Middle Class In India And Its Changing Structure”, Economic & Political Weekly, 2017), middle class population is a whopping 604.3 million compared to 574.8 million lower class. Somebody needs to take that votebank into account. And fast.