The poll bugle for what can probably be called India’s biggest electoral battle ever has been sounded from the country’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh, which also sends the highest number of MPs – 80 – to Parliament.
Akhilesh-Mayawati to announce alliance. Watch live updates #ITLivestream https://t.co/x97iPnZUi3— India Today (@IndiaToday) January 12, 2019
Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav have announced a seat-sharing pact for the 2019 general elections with 38 seats to the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), 38 seats to the Samajwadi Party (SP) and two seats to the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD).
The bua-bhatija combine has left two seats for the Congress — the Nehru-Gandhi family’s pocket borough of Rae Bareli and Amethi — even though there was no political agreement with the grand old party. This could be seen as a goodwill gesture that this gatbandhan has extended to the Congress to make room for negotiations, post the announcement of the general election results.
The SP flags flaunting the cycle and BSP flags displaying the elephant fluttering together have created the ground for the BJP to rush back to the drawing board as this alliance in UP could very well upset the party’s apple cart in the state.
Announcing the seat-sharing deal, BSP supremo Mayawati said, “The alliance will give Narendra Modi and Amit Shah sleepless nights.”
A look at the vote share of the BSP and SP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections makes it clear that this alliance could very well end up giving the BJP and its leadership the biggest headache ahead of the crucial elections.
Put together, the SP and BSP can end up garnering at least 42.2 per cent of the votes in the state giving a tough fight that the BJP did not see coming its way until the Phulpur and Gorakhpur by-poll results came out.
Many experts had called the by-polls for the two seats a rehearsal for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The coming together of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) served a body blow to the theory that the BJP’s citadel could not be breached after the party won 71 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and 325 seats in the 2017 Assembly elections.
It was after 23 years that arch-rivals SP and BSP reached an electoral understanding — and went on to wrest both Gorakhpur and Phulpur from the clutches of the BJP. SP-BSP and RLD repeated the story in Kairana by-polls by fighting the elections together once again.
Having tasted success, the two parties decided to enter the 2019 electoral battle together.
The SP flags flaunting the cycle and BSP flags displaying the elephant, both fluttering together, is bad news for the BJP. (Photo: PTI)
While the SP-BSP alliance left the BJP feeling uneasy, it totally left the Congress in the cold. During the press conference, Mayawati and SP not just attacked the BJP, but also took repeated digs at the Congress. Mayawati said, “The Congress has not been included in the alliance because the party has ruled the country for the longest times since independence but did not nothing for but did nothing for the poor and the marginalised. The party only remained mired in corruption.”
“During the Congress rule we had a declared emergency, during the BJP rule, we have an undeclared emergency,” the BSP leader said.
With that she justified the grounds for a SP-BSP alliance.
Will this be the game changer for the 2019 elections?
We will know soon.