Lucknow: Mayawati's failure to snag a Rajya Sabha seat means her newfound friend Akhilesh Yadav can forget about any help in two more bypolls ahead in Uttar Pradesh.
- BSP won't take part in any other bypoll before 2019 elections: Mayawati
- Akhilesh Yadav politically inexperienced, she said in a press conference
- The 2 ex-chief ministers had reached an understanding ahead of UP bypolls
After losing a white-knuckled race for one Rajya Sabha seat to the BJP on Friday, Mayawati declared that her alliance with the Samajwadi Party of Akhilesh Yadav was very much intact and the BJP should be under no false hope that she could divide the two before the 2019 national election.
At the same time, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief made two significant comments that telegraphed her disappointment with Akhilesh Yadav, whose party had won two seemingly impossible bypoll contests in BJP strongholds of Gorakhpur and Phulpur with the BSP's support.
One, Mayawati has said her party won't take part in any other bypoll in the run up to the national election. "The Lok Sabha polls of 2019 are approaching and so we want to concentrate on that. In any Lok Sabha bypoll or otherwise in the interim, we will not ask our workers to leave everything and work for the bypolls for anyone else," she said.
This means Akhilesh Yadav cannot count on a Gorakhpur victory redux in the crucial parliamentary bypoll in Kairana and the assembly bypoll in Bijnore, both in western UP.
Juhi Singh, a Samajwadi Party leader, said: "Kairana is just a bypoll. We will take it as it comes. Mayawatiji has clearly said the tie up is intact and the next big election for all of us is the Lok Sabha 2019 poll."
In her second loaded message, Mayawati said in her press conference that Akhilesh Yadav, a former chief minister like her, was politically inexperienced and in his place, she would have helped the BSP candidate win even at the cost of the Samajwadi's candidate Jaya Bachchan.
Based on their numbers in the UP assembly, the BJP took eight Rajya Sabha seats and the Samajwadi took one. On the 10th seat, Mayawati had fielded her candidate and was banking on the Samajwadi Party, Congress and Ajit Singh's party to make up the numbers needed to win a Rajya Sabha place. But the BJP made it a fight and snatched the seat in a suspenseful contest. The Samajwadi's eight lawmakers were not enough to win Mayawati her seat.
There was talk of Akhilesh Yadav sacrificing his candidate Jaya Bachchan and asking his lawmakers to support Mayawati's candidate instead, but that did not happen. The BJP, smarting at its by-poll loss, seized the chance.
"Akhilesh Yadav had promised 10 solid votes to the BSP in the Rajya Sabha election. They never got those votes. So Mayawati and her party members feel extremely cheated. As far as Akhilesh is concerned, he now has two Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha seat for himself. But Mayawati got a blank.
Mayawati, 62, realises that she cannot let her resentment get the better of an alliance that proved its might against the BJP and its chief minister Yogi Adityanath. If the opposition has any hope of outsmarting the BJP in 2019, a larger alliance has to work.