From Zero to 10: How 'Dark Horse' Akhilesh Brought Back Mayawati's BSP on India's Political Landscape

News18.com
Despite the Lok Sabha debacle both Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav seem firm on continuing their alliance till 2022 assembly elections.

Lucknow: The SP-BSP alliance may not have been able to get the expected numbers in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections, but the tie-up did prove to be a boon for the 'almost wiped out' Bahujan Samaj Party, which secured a double digit win from the scratch.

RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary had once rightly credited Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav for being the "master of the alliance". But the question that arises now is — how far has the move benefited the SP that failed to even retain Kannauj, the Yadav family's stronghold for the last 20 years.

In the wake of 2014's 'Modi wave', Samajwadi Party managed to retain five Lok Sabha seats, which included Akhilesh's seat, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s seat, Akhilesh’s wife Dimple Yadav’s seat, his cousin Dharmendra Yadav’s seat and his nephew Tej Pratap Yadav’s seat and his another cousin Akshay Yadav's constituency. Meanwhile, the Bahujan Samaj Party, which was not having any kind of alliance with the SP then, could not even open its account and it was probably for the first time that BSP had won zero seats in Uttar Pradesh.

On the other hand, in 2019, when everyone expected gathbandhan to do well in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party remained on five seats. However, the seats of Dimple Yadav, Dharmendra Yadav and Akshay Yadav were lost to the BJP, giving a major setback to the party and the Yadav clan as well. On the other hand, BSP which had zero seats in 2014, jumped to 10 seats, ahead of Samajwadi Party.

Experts feel that the credit of reviving BSP should go to SP Chief Akhilesh Yadav, however, they also say that this may have its own consequences in the long term.

Speaking to News18 on the issue, senior political journalist Parvez Ahmad said, “Name of Akhilesh Yadav will be written in history for reviving a party which had gone down to zero seats in Lok Sabha polls. Also there is a practical problem in the gathbandhan, when you analyse the results closely you will find out that seats which had majority of Dalits and Muslims were easily won, however, where Yadav’s also played an important role, such seats swung towards BJP. This makes it somewhat clear that the Yadavs have somewhat deserted their own party in the 2019 Lok Sabha Polls.”

The Samajwadi Party which was contesting on 37 seats as per their pre-poll understanding with BSP, won five seats of Azamgarh from where Akhilesh himself was contesting, Mainpuri from where Mulayam Singh Yadav was contesting, Moradabad from where ST Hasan was contesting, Rampur from where Azam Khan was contesting and Sambhal from where Shafiq Ur Rehman Barq was contesting.

However, the Bahujan Samaj Party candidates won from a total of 10 Lok Sabha seats, including Ambedkar Nagar, Amroha, Bijnor, Ghazipur, Ghosi, Lalganj, Nagina, Saharanpur, Shrawasti and Jaunpur parliamentary seats.

Though many people believed that the alliance between SP and BSP will stop the BJP juggernaut but unfortunately it could not yield desired results. The bonhomie between Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party might have surprised many but it was not the first time the two parties had joined hands to spot BJP’s march in the Hindi heartland. However, the SP-BSP of 1993 could not last much due to growing political differences between Mulayam and Mayawati and both the parties went separate ways in 1995.

Also, before the 2017 state assembly elections, sources suggest that BSP chief was not ready to forge any alliance with the SP as Mulayam Singh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav was actively involved in Samajwadi Party then. However when Akhilesh Yadav took over as the national president, things started to change and the infamous ‘Guest House Incident’ was also laid to rest by the BSP Chief.

Finally after a successful experiment in the Gorakhpur and Kairana by-elections, both the parties have now decided to come together and forge an alliance ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. However, the formal announcement of the alliance was made at the joint press conference by Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati.