New Delhi: Political ties with Mayawati are often signalled by way of BSP chief tying Rakhis to her allies. Murli Manohar Joshi would even fly to Lucknow to have Mayawati tie him a rakhi. This was in ’95, the time when she, with the support of BJP, became Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister and the first Dalit Chief Minister.
In 2002, she also tied a rakhi to the then BJP leader Lalji Tandon, who on Tuesday was appointed as the Governor of Bihar. It was again with the BJP’s help that she assumed the CM’s chair in Uttar Pradesh.
On Tuesday, photographs of her tying a rakhi to INLD leader and leader of opposition in Haryana, Abhay Chautala, emerged, three months after the two parties announced an alliance both for state and general polls in Haryana.
The photograph is significant not just for the political history of Rakhi alliances of Mayawati, but also a message to the other partners of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’: given appropriate space and respect, the BSP won’t waste time in joining forces with other opposition parties. This message is particularly important for Congress, with which it is reportedly in pre-poll alliance talks not just for next year’s general elections but for states like Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, which are due for polls later this year.
What is also interesting in this new Rakhi alliance is that Chautala, while announcing his party’s tie-up with BSP in April this year, had talked about fighting against BJP in a ‘third front’ under the leadership of Mayawati – clearly pitching her as the PM candidate for this alternative alliance of opposition parties.
During a press conference in April, Chautala had claimed that his party’s alliance with BSP is “an alliance of Dalits, backward classes and farmers, along with ‘kameras’ (labour class) to make the state “BJP-mukt”.
Chautala had talked about the sibling love between the two while talking about the seat sharing formula between the them. “It’s like a brother-sister alliance of ‘Rakshabandhan’. When the polls approach, we would announce the seats.”
This won’t be the first time INLD will be tying up with BSP. In 1998 INLD and BSP had fought all 10 seats of Lok Sabha in alliance. INLD contested seven seats, leaving three for the BSP. INLD won four seats while the BSP opened its account winning one seat. The alliance, however, did not continue for long.
BSP-INLD alliance in Haryana is interesting given the caste-makeup of the state. Scheduled castes form 20% of Haryana’s population, while Jats share is around 25%.