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Once Bitter Foes, Mulayam and Mayawati to Share Stage After 25 Years at Historic Mainpuri Rally Today

Twenty-five years ago, the then party chiefs Mulayam and Kanshi Ram had contested the state assembly elections together and formed the government.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18@qazifarazahmad

Updated:April 19, 2019, 10:02 PM IST

Lucknow: At loggerheads for decades, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati will share the stage with Mulayam Singh Yadav at a historic rally in UP’s Mainpuri on Friday and campaign for the Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch after over two decades.

Sources said Mayawati is also likely to visit the house of Mulayam’s brother in Mainpuri as a token of respect and to pass on the message of bonhomie to the cadres of both the parties in an effort to ensure smooth transfer of votes on all seats where the ‘Gathbandhan’ is contesting. Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh will also be present on the occasion as the third partner of the alliance.

It took more than 25 years for both the parties to join hands once again to stop the BJP juggernaut in the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Twenty-five years ago, the then party chiefs Mulayam and Kanshi Ram had contested the state assembly elections together and formed the government.

To counter the BJP when it was at the peak of the Ayodhya movement, the SP and BSP had forged a pre-poll alliance in 1993 under which the SP won 109 seats and BSP won 67 seats of the 156 assembly seats they contested. While the BJP emerged as the single-largest party with 177 seats, it could not form the government as the SP-BSP managed to forge an alliance with other small parties and formed the government.

However, the government could not last long due to growing political differences between Mulayam and Mayawati, and both parties went their separate ways in 1995. It was in 2019 that Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati repeatedly said publicly that their alliance had a long way to go and would continue in the 2022 state assembly elections in order to wipe out the BJP from state politics too.

Things began to change for the two parties after Akhilesh took over and Mayawati buried the hatchet over the infamous guesthouse incident of 1995 when she was targeted by SP goons who barged into the premises and attacked BSP workers. However, it was Akhilesh who first made the attempt to mend the fences by calling Mayawati his ‘bua’ in public speeches and the two eventually made peace.

After successfully testing the BSP-SP formula in the Gorakhpur and Kairana by-elections, the parties decided to come together and forge an alliance ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. Whether the parties manage to hold on to their caste-based vote banks in the general election remains to be seen but the alliance is geared to give the ruling government a tough fight.

The SP-BS-RLD alliance is contesting on all the 80 Lok Sabha seats of the state with SP contesting on 37 seats, BSP on 38 and RLD on three seats. Two seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli were left for the Congress without any pre-poll understanding.

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