- According to sources, Mayawati said the alliance is useless
- Samajwadi Party won only where Muslims voted for them, she allegedly said
- We are waiting for an official statement, the Samajwadi Party said
The alliance between Uttar Pradesh rivals-turned-partners Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav may be all but over after their disappointing national election performance. Mayawati dropped that hint in a meeting today of her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), in which she said the party would contest 11 assembly by-polls alone and would not depend on alliances, according to sources.
This means Mayawati, a three-time chief minister, is also changing her policy of not contesting bypolls.
Mayawati, according to sources, said: "The alliance is bekar (useless). Yadav votes were not transferred to us but our votes did go to them. Samajwadi Party won only where Muslims voted heavily for them. Even (Akhilesh Yadav's) own family didn't win the Yadav votes."
Offering another giant clue that she was just not into the gathbandhan anymore, Mayawati also raised the 1995 UP Guest House incident - when she was manhandled by Samajwadi workers for ending her alliance with Mulayam Singh Yadav and tying up with the BJP - and said it could not be forgotten but she had tried to move past it to form an alliance for the sake of the country and because Akhilesh was "a child".
Before the polls, she had repeatedly asserted that while the guest house assault was unforgiveable, she had decided to put the bitterness behind. The two parties were then riding on hope fueled by their successful joint venture last year in Lok Sabha bypolls to three BJP-held seats.
Mayawati did emphasize, however, that even without the alliance, her relations with Akhilesh Yadav would remain amicable because "Akhilesh is not like his father (Mulayam Singh Yadav)".
The former chief minister is believed to have noted that Akhilesh Yadav's estranged uncle Shivpal Yadav and the Congress both cut into Yadav votes. Akhilesh Yadav, she remarked, couldn't even help his wife Dimple Yadav win. Two of his cousins, Akshay and Dharmendra Yadav, lost too.
"Why should we get caught in the Yadav family feud? So this by-election we will contest alone," said the BSP chief.
The Samajwadi Party has reacted to Mayawati's remarks, saying it was waiting for an official statement.
"No one has got the official stand of the BSP regarding the alliance. We are waiting for an official statement," SP chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary told PTI.
In the Mayawati-Akhilesh tie-up - dubbed the bua-bhatija duo of UP - it is the Samajwadi chief who was the bigger loser.
While the BSP can take heart in its rise from zero in 2014 to 10 this time, the Samajwadi party stayed where it was - five. But it was the Samajwadi Party that lost more vote share compared to the BSP.
Akhilesh Yadav had indicated that the alliance formed in January would continue for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in 2022.
The understanding, or so it was interpreted, was that Akhilesh Yadav would back Mayawati for Prime Minister and give her the boost when the time came, and Mayawati would return the favour when it came to the state polls and the post of Chief Minister.
The outcome was miles away from their expectations. The BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, won 303 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, more than enough to return to power.
Even in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP won 62 of 80 parliamentary seats, nine seats less than 2014, and its Apna Dal ally won two seats. The gathbandhan's tally settled at 15.
The by-polls to 11 seats will be held after their lawmakers were elected to parliament. The BJP holds nine and the BSP has two seats.