BSP Supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav have called a joint press conference tomorrow at noon at a 5-star hotel in Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh for what is widely believed to be an announcement of their alliance for the upcoming 2019 National Election due by May.
Mr. Yadav and Mayawati have been in talks for weeks and last week they met in Delhi to raise a lot of talks over reports that the two former Chief Ministers had decided on a grand alliance or “mahagathbandhan” leaving the Congress out of the equation.
Over the week, the two opposition leader also put out press statements, which specifically referred to word “gathbandhan”. BSP Chief Mayawati’s press statement was in solidarity with Mr. Yadav amid reports that the CBI may question him on a probe into a mining scam that took place when he was the Chief Minister. She advised, “Don’t be shaken.”
Mr. Yadav has returned the favor when he put out a press release to condemn PM Modi’s remarks at a rally in Agra on BSP supremo “forgetting” an attack on her by SP workers in 1995 for “political gains”. Mr. Yadav said, “PM Modi is scared of the alliance.”
Smaller parties like the Nishad Party and the RLD (Rashtriya Lok Dal) are also likely to be in the alliance. However, Mayawati-Akhilesh combo has decided not to field candidates in Raebareli and Amethi, the seats held by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi.
Anticipating a “maha” slight, Congress has been talking about going it alone. But for the party, the utmost worry is that the UP alliance may become a template in other states and hamper the grand coalition of opposition parties taking on PM Modi and BJP together.
In 2014, center-ruling BJP and its ally Apna Dal has managed to win a whopping 73-seats out of the 80-parliamentary seats in Uttar Pradesh, while SP, BSP, and Congress were decimated.
However, Mr. Yadav tried to retain power in UP by joining hands with Congress of 2017 state elections also failed miserably as BJP came into power with a huge majority.
Last year, Mayawati and Mr. Yadav have decided to bury their legendary rivalry and pool in their resources in three by-poll contests. The grand alliance has snagged three BJP seats: Kairana was won by the Rashtriya Lok Dal, Gorakhpur by Nishad Party, and Phulpur by Samajwadi Party. It further gave them hope that together that can seek votes away from the ruling-BJP.
If trying to replace their success in 2019 General Elections, it is likely to be a major headache for BHP, which recently lost three heartlands stated in the assembly elections.
For the center-ruling BJP, defeats in the assembly elections came with the realization that the upper caste voters, who have always been a faithful vote-base, are also disappointed with the ruling party.