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Posted at: Jan 12, 2019, 2:12 PM; last updated: Jan 12, 2019, 8:51 PM (IST)

Samajwadi Party-BSP alliance to give tough time to ruling BJP

Samajwadi Party-BSP alliance to give tough time to ruling BJP
Amit Shah. File photo

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 12

After much speculation, BSP supremo Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party on Saturday announced their alliance for the Lok Sabha election. The BSP chief said both the parties are joining hands to defeat communal forces and protect people’s rights.

The first time the two Uttar Pradesh leaders spoke about the alliance was around March last year. They then experimented with it in three Lok Sabha and a state Assembly bypolls. The BJP lost all these seats to the alliance.

However, on Friday, dismissing the anti-BJP alliance at the national convention of the party, BJP chief Amit Shah had termed it a “desperate attempt by disparate groups” with the sole aim of ousting Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He claimed that the BJP would win more number of seats than it had in 2014.

But the fact is that the SP-BSP alliance can be a formidable opposition to the BJP which had won 71 Lok Sabha seats in UP in 2014, so believe observers.

The Samajwadi Party claims that the BJP is scared of their alliance in UP, which is why the government was “misusing” the CBI against former CM Akhilesh Yadav.

It is an allegation saffron leaders pooh-pooh along with the possibility of the alliance impacting their electoral prospects in UP.

However, according to political observers, the alliance may spell tough times for the BJP in the state that sends as many as 80 members to the Lok Sabha. And the Congress not being a part of it could make matters even worse.

For the BJP, an SP-BSP alliance minus the Congress is a nightmare it would not like to relive after the Gorakhpur, Kairana and Phulpur experience. Had the Congress joined in, the BJP had a better chance of upper castes votes, this even though the BJP believes its masterstroke of providing reservation to economically weaker sections among upper castes will take care of all the issues now.

“Brahmins would have preferred to vote for the BJP had the Congress tied up with the SP. The grand old party would make a better partner by staying out rather than being a part. No wonder the Congress was not seen making much of an effort to join in,” is the argument being given.

Though there is another angle to this: that of the crucial minority vote bank.

A section believes that by remaining out the Congress will split the Muslim votes of the BSP/SP. Also, for the BJP it would be easier to “manage” the BSP-SP combine in case it falls short of numbers, which would not have been possible if the Congress was also a part.

For the BJP, holding on to minor regional allies in UP Apna Dal and SPSP is crucial.

Om Prakash Rajbhar, who heads the SBSP and is also part of the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government, has been openly challenging Modi reminding him of his party’s demands regarding rights of backward people in the past 21 months. “But the Modi government has given reservations to the upper caste within two days,” Rajbhar was quoted as saying.

Earlier, he also questioned the timing of the reports that the CBI might quiz Akhilesh Yadav in connection with an illegal sand mining case.

Apna Dal leader and Union minister Anupriya Patel and her husband, party president Ashish Patel, have also been voicing frustration over “treatment” to smaller NDA allies by the BJP.  

Senior BJP leaders, who claim no “anger or ill will” among NDA allies, say all issues will be resolved before the elections. “Political posturing is expected during election time. After the Bihar seat-sharing arrangement with the

LJP, it was expected that the NDA constituents in UP will also try for a bigger share,” they say.

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