From Mulayam-Kanshi Ram to Maya-Akhilesh, How SP-BSP Joined Hands to Halt BJP Juggernaut
The newly found bonhomie between Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party might be surprising to many but it is not the first time the two parties have joined hands to spot BJP’s march in the Hindi Heartland.
Lucknow: After the disintegration of the Janata Dal in early 1991, the socialists in Uttar Pradesh were at sea.
Few months later, General Elections saw the return of the Congress government at the Centre, led by PV Narasimha Rao. In Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh won a comfortable majority to lead the first majority BJP government in Uttar Pradesh.
A section in erstwhile Janata Dal which broke away to form Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP) led by Chandra Shekhar wanted to have truck with the Congress to take on the challenge posed by the BJP. But Mulayam Singh Yadav had other plans.
The Lok Sabha elections to Etawah had been countermanded in the face of violence and reports of massive rigging. By-elections were slated for the November of 1991. The BJP and SJP were in direct contest for a seat seen to be Mulayam’s pocket borough.
Interestingly, BSP founder Kanshi Ram, then trying to find his feet in the national politics, also filed nomination papers.
“It was on polling day that we realised what had happened when our polling agents were seen mobilising votes for the BSP. Hamare baste pe hathi ko vote pad rahe the,” recalled a close aide of Mulayam many years later. It later came to light that Mulayam had clandestinely transferred his party votes to BSP that elections.
Kanshi Ram, after many failed attempts, had won his first direct election to enter the Lok Sabha. Mulayam Singh Yadav in the process had successfully experimented with the OBC-Dalit-Muslim combination.
A year later, in October 1992, Mulayam formed his own party. In 1993, the Samajwadi Party and BSP came together to defeat BJP at the peak of the Ram Temple movement to form a coalition government.
‘Mile Mulayam Kanshi Ram, hawa mein ud gaye Jai Shri Ram’ was the common refrain among euphoric alliance supporters as the BSP tasted victory to win power in a decade since its formation in early’ 80s.
The newly found bonhomie between Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party might be surprising to many but it is not the first time the two parties have joined hands to spot BJP’s march in the Hindi heartland. However, the SP-BSP of 1993 could not last much due to growing political differences between Mulayam and Mayawati and both the parties went separate ways in 1995.
Also, before the 2017 state assembly elections, sources suggest that BSP chief was not ready to forge any alliance with the SP as Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav was actively involved in Samajwadi Party then. However when Akhilesh Yadav took over as the national president, things started to change and the infamous ‘Guest House Incident’ was also laid to rest by the BSP Chief.
Finally after a successful experiment in the Gorakhpur and Kairana by-elections, both the parties have now decided to come together and forge an alliance ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.
The formal announcement of the alliance was made at the joint press conference by Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, who added that the seat-sharing formula had also been decided upon. The upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha Elections in the state might be a repeat of 1993 assembly elections, when a similar situation prevailed where BJP was quite strong in the state and was also banking on the Ram Janmabhoomi issue but the political arithmetic went in favour of the SP-BSP alliance.
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