Tak­ing On Each Other’s Ad­ver­saries Helps Maya, Akhilesh Over­come Dif­fer­ences

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: Bit­ter ri­vals-turned-coali­tion part­ners Mayawati and AkhileshYa­davover­cameapo­ten­tial deal-breaker soon after the cru­cial Go­rakh­pur and Phulpur Lok Sabha by­polls in March last year, dis­tanced them­selves from each other’s ad­ver­saries as well as the Con­gress and de­cided to join forces to take on the BJP to­gether in the 2019 gen­eral elec­tion months be­fore they an­nounced on Satur­day that their par­ties will con­test 38 seats each in UP.

The al­liance ap­peared to be a given when Ya­dav’s Sa­ma­jwadi Party (SP) wrested Go­rakh­pur and Phulpur seats with the back­ing of Mayawati’s Bahu­jan Sa­maj Party (BSP) and Ya­dav drove down to Mayawati’s Mall Av­enue res­i­dence for the first time on March 14, 2018 to greet and thank her. How­ever, the bon­homie did not last long, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple aware of the mat­ter.

Within a fort­night, the part­ner­ship hit a rough patch after Mayawati’s can­di­date­forRa­jyaSabha,BhimRao Ambed­kar, lost the elec­tion while SP’s Jaya Bachchan won a seat. Mayawati was upset with Ya­dav, said one per­son, es­pe­cially since her bête noire and in­de­pen­dent MLA Raghu­ra­jPrat­apSingh,whowasear­lier a min­is­ter in the SP gov­ern­ment, had voted for the BJP.

Ya­dav was quick to make amends, though, and dis­tance him­self from Singh.Heeven­deletedaTwit­ter­mes­sage in which he had thanked Singh as­sum­ing he would vote for the SP or BSP can­di­date. “Ya­dav re­alised he had been duped and he had let Mayawati down,” a se­nior SP leader told ET on con­di­tion of anonymity.

SP re­alised that the mat­ter was se­ri­ous enough to de­rail the part­ner­ship, so Ya­dav went the ex­tra mile to make it up to Mayawati and not con­test again on his own seat to the UP Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil in April. In­stead, he got the BSP’s de­feated can­di­date, Bhim Rao Ambed­kar, elected to the seat. Ya­dav’s act of cold-shoul­der­ing Singh saw Mayawati fi­nally re­turn­ingth­e­favouronSatur­day­by­crit­i­cis­ing Shiv­pal Singh Ya­dav, whom the SP chief sees as his ad­ver­sary.

Both lead­ers had been in touch since an in-prin­ci­ple de­ci­sion to en­ter into an al­liance for the Lok Sabha polls was taken around Septem­ber, but the an­nounce­ment was de­layed to give the BJP “least time to pre­pare for it”, said a party leader said.

“The BJP’s re­ac­tion by way of an im­me­di­ate CBI ac­tion to the meet­ing be­tween Ya­dav and Mayawati in Delhi on Jan­uary 4 which be­came pub­lic, only re­in­forced ap­pre­hen­sions of the two al­lies that the rul­ing party wanted to de­rail the al­liance at any cost,” said an SP leader. “Hence, no more time was wasted and the al­liance was an­nounced on Satur­day, nearly three days ear­lier than the an­tic­i­pated an­nounce­ment on Mayawati’s birth­day on Jan­uary 15. “

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