Mayawati likely to share stage with Mulayam at Mainpuri rally
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati is likely to share stage with Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and campaign for him in his home turf Mainpuri as part of the joint rallies strategy.
Forgetting the age-old bitter rivalry, Mayawati, along with Akhilesh Yadav are expected to hold a rally in Mainpuri on April 19 to campaign for Mulayam Singh, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from his bastion.
The rally is being organised to spread a message of bonhomie between both the parties and neutralise Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party president Shivpal Yadav's influence in the area.
Shivpal Yadav had backed Mulayam Singh for the post of Prime Minister during his speech in Lok Sabha last month.
However, Shivpal has decided not to field a candidate against Mulayam from Mainpuri and had requested Mulayam to contest from his newly formed party.
Mayawati sharing stage with Mulayam Singh is being seen as a game changer to convert caste arithmetic into votes and enthuse party workers to work collectively with coordination.
According to sources, top leaders of both the parties have already started strategising to make Mainpuri rally a grand success. BSP and SP are expected to make the programme details official after Holi.
In 1993, SP-BSP had formed an alliance to stop the BJP's growing influence after the Ram temple movement gained momentum. Then SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP founder Kanshi Ram had joined hands. Both the leaders were able to outflank the BJP.
The alliance, however, did not last and ended in 1995 after the infamous Meera Bai Marg guest house incident wherein SP workers misbehaved with Mayawati. Since then Mayawati and Mulayam Singh's rivalry began and continued for more than two decades.
In an exclusive interview with India Today TV on Thursday, former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav said, "I had met Mayawati at her residence to discuss the joint rallies. Our election campaign will begin from Navratri and some of the dates have already been finalised."
Hours after the interview, SP chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary issued a press release announcing that Akhilesh, Mayawati and RLD president Ajit Singh will begin the joint election campaign on April 7 by addressing a rally in Deoband in Western UP.
After Deoband, back to back joint rallies will be addressed by Akhilesh and Mayawati in Meerut, Bijnore, Bulandshahr, Badaun, Aligarh, Agra, Amroha, Mainpuri and other important constituencies. The official programme will be released in the coming days.
Speaking to India Today TV, on the possibility of Mayawati campaigning for Mulayam, SP spokesperson Sunil Yadav said, "There is no official information about Mainpuri rally but both Mayawati and Akhilesh will together hold rallies across the state to defeat the BJP in the upcoming polls. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not manage to win more than 10 seats in the upcoming elections from UP."
UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya said, "If Mayawati decides to campaign for Mulayam Singh, it's her decision but the alliance in UP will fail to impact us. The people across the state have formed an alliance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and we are hopeful of getting more than 73 seats. We will also defeat the Congress party in their stronghold Amethi and Raebareli."
UP BJP spokesperson Chandramohan said that Mayawati before going to Mainpuri should address the Dalits across the country and inform them about the need to campaign in favour of Mulayam, the leader which she has been criticising for a very long time.
Meanwhile, UP Congress spokesperson Zeeshan Haider said, "Neither the BJP, not the SP-BSP alliance in UP will make any impact in the upcoming polls. There is a Priyanka Gandhi wave in UP. Congress will emerge as the single largest party in the upcoming polls and will also form government in the Centre."