After taking on the Congress in the just-concluded Assembly polls, the BSP and the Samajwadi Party have offered to support the grand old party in the Government formation in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The gesture is seen as a major development towards stitching a mahagathbandhan in Uttar Pradesh against the BJP.
Nearly three decades after the emergence of caste-based identity politics in Uttar Pradesh and the gradual rise of the SP and the BSP that led to the decimation of the Congress in UP, the success of the Congress in the three States of Hindi hinterland threatens to unsettle the poll arithmetic of both regional parties in UP.
Before the Assembly polls in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, both parties had claimed they are not interested in accommodating the Congress in the grand alliance in UP for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Besides the SP and the BSP, the Rashtriya Lok Dal, the Nishad Party and the Peace Party are the other constituents of the alliance.
The SP had offered only two seats — Amethi and Rae Bareli — to the Congress. Both regional parties had adopted strident postures against the Congress.
The BSP even forged an alliance with former Chhattisgarh CM Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress and contested the recent poll.
Even as lofty claims were being made about the emergence of anti-BJP grand alliance in UP, the two castes-based regional parties were keen on protecting their respective core voters and particularly Muslim vote bank.
The two parties which had become used to dictating terms to the Congress in UP ‘for fighting communal forces’ share a chequered history of the ties with the Congress.
But with radical change in the Congress poll fortunes, both SP and BSP have extended unsolicited support to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. They are now preparing for working out a seat-sharing formula with the resurgent grand old party.
SP chief Akhilesh tweeted about his decision to support the Congress in MP only after Mayawati addressed the media in New Delhi on Wednesday and announced her party’s support to the resurgent party. The SP has got one seat in Madhya Pradesh while the BSP bagged two seats in MP and six seats in Rajasthan.
In 1996 UP Assembly poll, Congress and BSP fought in alliance where the Congress won over 40 seats. In the following elections, the BSP refused alliance with any party saying its votes were transferred to the electoral partner while it never got the vote of the ally.
Meanwhile on Monday Akhilesh Yadav said, “We welcome the mandate. We didn’t perform well but we would like to thank the public of Madhya Pradesh for supporting us. We have decided to support Congress in MP. The BJP has spread hatred and deceived the public. They will be given a befitting reply by the people in 2019 Lok Sabha poll.”
Asking the Congress to fulfil the promises made to the people of Madhya Pradesh and other States, Akhilesh said the farmers’ loan waiver announced by the Congress should be implemented.
“The alliance in Madhya Pradesh is an old matter and now everyone is looking towards the coming Lok Sabha polls where a united Opposition would give a benefiting reply to the BJP,” he said.