Uttar Pradesh: Grand alliance in making? BSP extends support to SP for upcoming bypolls

By Siddhant Mohan, TwoCircles.net

A week before the bypolls for two Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh, Bahujan Samaj Party announced on Sunday to extend its support to the candidates from Samajwadi Party for both these seats.

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Gorakhpur and Phulpur, the two Lok Sabha seats, were vacated last year when Yogi Adityanath and Keshav Prasad Maurya took oath as Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister respectively of the state. The bypolls on these two seats will take place on March 11.

Ahead of the elections, Samajwadi Party already announced a coalition with Nishad Party and Peace Party. SP has also given clear hints in making a secular and “anti-BJP” alliance with smaller political outfits in Uttar Pradesh.

The announcement on Sunday came in the presence of Nagendra Pratap Singh Patel and Praveen Nishad, SP candidates for Phulpur and Gorakhpur respectively.

In two previous reports related to the bypolls, TwoCircles.net had speculated an understanding between Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party when latter did not file any nomination. The reports can be accessed here and here.

While making the announcement on Sunday, BSP leader Ghanshyam Kharwar informed media that to avoid division of votes, Bahin Ji (Mayawati) has taken such a decision. The meeting on Saturday was conducted with the top leaders of the party to know their views over the current conditional alliance.

However, party sources have informed that the meeting was just a “quorum” to let the party leaders feel about the long-awaited alliance between the two.

Before the announcement of results of 2017 state assembly elections, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party were rumoured to be in talks to forge a post-poll alliance in case of a hung assembly, but it did not materialise because of a huge majority gained by BJP.

But many fear that while the alliance may benefit the SP if it manages to gain SC and OBC votes, the same may not apply to the BSP because it might lose its vote bank built over the years. Gorakhpur-based journalist Manoj Kumar Singh told TwoCircles.net, “It is early to speculate if SP will gain anything from such ‘understanding’ or alliance, but BSP may end up losing its voter to SP, or BJP in the worst case.”