Leaving behind the decades of rivalry, Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati are set to share the stage at a rally in Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh. This will be the first time in over two decades both the leaders will meet again after the infamous guesthouse case in 1995.
The story is about 24 years old when Mulayam Singh Yadav was heading the government with the support of Mayawati. However, reports started appearing that Mayawati was planning to meet the party leaders to discuss withdrawal of support from the SP government. Following the reports, Samajwadi Party workers attacked the BSP chief who was staying at the state guest house in Lucknow.
It was after this episode that both the leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati never crossed the path in the state or the centre. However, the Bhartiya Janata Party’s unprecedented performance in the last general elections forced both the parties to come together to save their respective bastions.
In 2014, the saffron party under the leadership of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah had swept Uttar Pradesh by winning 71 of 80 seats with 42.30 per cent vote share. Both the SP and BSP were reduced to their lowest ever numbers. The SP got five seats (all family members) but secured 22.20 per cent vote share. The BSP could not open its account but its vote share was 19.60 per cent.
It is in this backdrop that both the parties decided to leave their differences aside and stop the division of votes if they wanted to claim their lost grounds back. The first experiment was undertaken in Phulpur and Gorakhpur when BSP did not field its candidate and extended its support to SP to take on the BJP. That move delivered a stunning blow to the saffron party which lost both the seats.
Confident by the result, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati decided to join hands to take on the BJP. The BSP is contesting on 38 seats, while SP is fighting on 37 of 80 seats. Almost all the pre-poll surveys predict that the grand alliance in the state could bring down the BJP numbers significantly. It is this result that the SP and BSP have tied up for in the most crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.