New Delhi: In what could be the litmus test that may glue a larger anti-BJP front in Uttar Pradesh ahead of 2019 General Elections, Bahujan Samaj Party has activated its cadre strength to mobilise support of Samajwadi Party candidates in two Lok Sabha bypolls in Uttar Pradesh.
The BSP workers have been doing a door-to-door campaign in Phulpur and Gorakhpur to ensure committed party votes are transferred to the SP candidate in what is crystallising as a bipolar contest against the BJP.
"Behenji's orders have been relayed to the party workers. They are now taking her message to the voters. I am certain that the BJP candidate will lose this election," said Ashok Gautam, BSP's zonal coordinator for Allahabad.
SP-BSP tactical alliance for bypolls is being seen as a litmus test to coalesce new coalitions between incompatible social groups which have been competing for power in UP for the last two decades. With Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav dominating the state politics, the caste fault lines between backward and Dalits defined UP's political landscape before 2014.
BSP's near pulverisation and SP's poor performance in the last Assembly and Lok Sabha polls has forced the arch-rivals to make tactical adjustments now.
In Pulpur and Gorakhpur, the SP has fielded candidates from backward communities even as the BSP works to ensure transfer of its committed votes to the alliance candidate.
Senior BSP leader Thakur Ummed Singh feels history is going to repeat itself this year, pointing to Mulayam Singh Yadav's alliance with BSP founder Kanshi Ram. "The last time SP and BSP came together, the BJP had to stay out of power even at the peak of the Ram Temple movement. The BJP is certainly out of the race in Phulpur. But it will also lose in Yogi Adityanath's seat of Gorakhpur. I am certain that the BJP will get a rude shock on March 14, when the results pour in," he said.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won by big margins on both seats. Yogi Adityanath got 51.8% of the vote in Gorakhpur while the SP candidate could manage 21.7% and the BSP candidate got 16.9%. Together, both parties got 38.6% of the vote.
In Phulpur, Keshav Prasad Maurya got 52.4% of the vote. SP got 20.3% and BSP got 17%. Together, SP and BSP managed 37.3% of the vote in Phulpur.