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  India   Politics  06 Feb 2017  UP polls: Congress, others keep Mayawati option open

UP polls: Congress, others keep Mayawati option open

THE ASIAN AGE. | SREEPARNA CHAKRABARTY
Published : Feb 6, 2017, 5:36 am IST
Updated : Feb 6, 2017, 5:45 am IST

The elections to the 403-member UP Assembly are seen by many to be a “semi-final” ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

BSP supremo Mayawati (Photo: PTI)
 BSP supremo Mayawati (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: In politics there are no permanent enemies nor friends. Despite the much flaunted SP-Congress alliance, the latter appears to be “open” to the idea of  lending support to Mayawati if her Bahujan Samajwadi Party emerges as the single largest party in Uttar Pradesh, as are the other “secular” forces like the Rashtriya Lok Dal and Janata Dal (United).

While a Bihar-style “Mahaghathmandhan” failed to take off in the crucial poll-bound state, all “secular” parties will close ranks to stall communal forces, meaning BJP, from coming to power, sources in all party camps say.

 

That the Congress, desperate to revive itself in UP, is not averse to joining hands with Mayawati if necessary was evident when party vice-president Rahul Gandhi was all praise for the dalit czarina at his first joint press conference with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav immediately after the SP-Congress alliance was formalised. “The BSP and the BJP are not the same,” Mr Gandhi had said.

The RLD, fighting separately in western UP with JD(U) and other smaller outfits, will also rally around Mayawati if she comes anywhere close to the majority mark.

Sources in both the Congress and RLD said Mayawati’s move to make the Quami Ekta Dal merge with her outfit could help her attract a large chunk of Muslim votes. Muslims comprise nearly 20 per cent of the population of the state and are seen to be a crucial votebank.

 

The RLD, that has decided to go it alone in its western UP stronghold after being rebuffed by the SP for an alliance, has already announced that supporting a BJP-led government was out of the question.

At a recent rally, RLD chief Ajit Singh predicted a hung Assembly in the state after the election, and had said his party will not ally with the BJP. While he did not reveal all his cards, sources in the party told this newspaper that in the scenario of the BSP emerging as the single largest party without a majority, the RLD will support Mayawati to prop up a BSP government in order to prevent the BJP from coming to power.

The so-called secular bloc is apparently keeping its BSP options open with an eye on the 2019 general election. These parties are also jittery due to the constant raging internal feud in the Samajwadi Party and don’t want to put all their eggs into one basket. The elections to the 403-member UP Assembly are seen by many to be a “semi-final” ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

 

Tags: mayawati, akhilesh yadav, uttar pradesh assembly polls
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi