Future of SP-BSP alliance turns uncertain in U.P.

BSP plans to contest Assembly bypolls on its own

The future of the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh turned uncertain on Monday after the BSP indicated that it was in the mood to contest on its own the upcoming Assembly by-polls for 11 seats.

Since BSP supremo Mayawati is the first and last word in the party, her official silence added to the speculation.

On Monday, she held a review meeting with coordinators and office-bearers of U.P. in Delhi to analyse the 2019 Lok Sabha election results in which the party won 10 out of the 38 seats it contested. The BSP’s ally, the SP, fared even worse, bagging only five.

No formal note

Till evening, she was yet to issue a formal note on the meeting as is customary in the party.

While there was no formal announcement on the future of the alliance, sources said that Ms. Mayawati had presented the assessment report that the alliance with the SP did not benefit the party much since the transfer of votes was poor, in particular of the Yadav community, the core of the SP.

A senior BSP leader who attended the meeting told The Hindu that the party would contest “all 11 seats on its own,” practically ruling out an alliance with the SP in the by-polls.

Ms. Mayawati also instructed her party coordinators and leaders to “strengthen the organisation in the 11 Assembly seats on a priority,” said the BSP leader, on the condition of anonymity.

However, there was no word on the future of the alliance or if contesting by-polls alone meant it was the end of the road for the SP-BSP tie-up.

Ms. Mayawati asked her colleagues to prepare to contest the upcoming by-polls for the 11 seats vacated after the MLAs, including nine from the BJP, got elected to the Lok Sabha.

The BSP has in the past shied away from contesting by-polls and even in 2018, the Gorakhpur, Kairana and Phulpur seats were won on SP and RLD symbols as the three parties came together to stitch together an experimental understanding which was formalised in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

A source said it was too early to dismiss the alliance. “It is too early to say it’s over unless both leaders say it publicly,” said the source.

Talking to a news channel in the national capital, R.S. Kushwaha, BSP State president, said Ms. Mayawati had instructed them to “restructure the party with full force” and make the organisation strong so that “at least 50% of the people are with us.” Mr. Kushwaha contested the Lok Sabha election from Salempur but lost.

SP chief Akhilesh Yadav was in Azamgarh addressing a thanksgiving rally as the BSP meeting was being held. When asked about the BSP’s meeting and the speculation over the future of the alliance, Mr. Yadav said he was unaware of it. “It is not in my knowledge. I am in Azamgarh, meeting workers and people,” he said.

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