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SP-BSP joint rally in UP: Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav forget bitter past in quest to defeat Narendra Modi

"Mile Mulayam Kanshiram hawa ho gaye Jai Sri Ram (BJP)." In the early 1990s, this catchy slogan hit the air in Uttar Pradesh. That was the post Babri Masjid demolition era. After a spell of President's Rule for a year, in 1993, Assembly elections took place, with two unlikely parties BSP and SP joining hands as partners to oust BJP from power.

BJP emerged as the single largest party with 177 seats, down by around 20 percent seats it had last time. The SP-BSP combine, during the heydays of Mulayam-Kanshiram, managed 176 seats in a 425-member state Assembly. The slogan is still remembered as one of the turning points in the political history of the state. On 2 June, 1995, the infamous guest house episode took place in which Samajwadi Party goons attacked Mayawati and Kanshiram. Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati-Kanshiram became sworn enemies and never saw eye to eye with each other.

The existential threat posed by Narendra Modi-led BJP made Samajwadi Patry patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav aka Dharti Putra aka Netaji forgive and forget Mayawati and join hands with her to keep their political fortunes floating. 24 years after the guest house episode, on Friday, they came together at Mulayam’s home turf, with SP patriarch’s son Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati’s nephew Akash Anand by their side. Mulayam is now 79 and not in best of his health.

 SP-BSP joint rally in UP: Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav forget bitter past in quest to defeat Narendra Modi

Mulayam Singh Yadav with Mayawati at the SP-BSP joint rally in Uttar Pradesh. PTI

It had been reported, based on what he had indicated, that he was not happy with the alliance stitched by Akhilesh with Mayawati. He was initially very tentative when he appeared on stage and was told by son Akhilesh to move ahead a bit so that a picture perfect pose with Mayawati could be made. He didn’t exchange a word with Mayawati while on stage.

But after a while, reality seems to have struck him and when he rose to speak, he spoke good words about Mayawati, “welcoming” her and saying that today, they had come together and will have to stay together in the future. He also told his party workers that he would always be beholden to Mayawati for coming there and seeking votes for him and appealed to them to be respectful to her.

The idea was to turn political alliance between the leaders, Mulayam-Akhilesh and Mayawati, into a Yadav-Dalit social alliance for larger political gains. The SP patriarch was conscious that son Akhilesh was playing second fiddle to Mayawati in the alliance, something which the core social support base, the Yadav community, may not be very comfortable with. It was thus important for him to make an appeal to them to honour Mayawati.

Mayawati, on her part, explained to the vast mass of gathered audience as to why 24 years after the guest house incident, they came together. Modi, according to her, was the catalyst because it was incumbent on politicians of all hues to get rid of “nakli” and “fargi” (fake) backward caste leader and a prime minister who had apparently failed on every count and was hellbent on destroying the country, its social and economic fabric. They came together because Mulayam was the real leader of backward class, claimed Mayawati.

Her landing in Mainpuri was intended to send a strong message among their social constituents that they were now friends and their bondage was so strong that they were welcomed in each other’s home turf. The first two phases were in areas where it was mostly about Muslim-Dalit combination from gathbandhan or SP-BSP-RLD coalition perspective. Third phase of polling is in Yadav stronghold areas — Sambhal, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Etah, Badaun, Aonla, Bareilly, Pilibhit, Moradabad and Rampur — where Mulayam’s persona has a great deal of influence.

Akhilesh, who had been very keen to have what many call 'Bua-Babua' alliance with Mayawati, had a different reason as to why they came together. He said Modi says this election was about building a new India, but for them, it was an election to choose new a prime minister. The SP chief, however, did not clarify whom he wants to see as the new prime minister. Even as he is in alliance with BSP and BSP leaders have publicly said that Mayawati was the prime ministerial contender, he didn’t say that Mayawati could be the next prime minister.

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Updated Date: Apr 19, 2019 21:11:58 IST