Lucknow: For his party's phenomenal victory in Uttar Pradesh's by-elections from two seats on Wednesday, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav thanked Mayawati's BSP for her party's unequivocal support and hinted that the Yogi Adityanath government may perhaps not have come to power in 2017 if his party had partnered with BSP.
- Akhilesh Yadav thanked Mayawati's BSP for unequivocal support
- Possibly a template for SP, BSP tie-up for Lok Sabha elections
- Akhilesh Yadav said bypolls sent out bigger message for ruling BJP
He, later in the evening, drove to Mayawati’s residence in Lucknow, where the two leaders met for nearly an hour.
The Samajwadi party had contested the Uttar Pradesh's assembly election in alliance with Rahul Gandhi's Congress in 2017, an alliance that was a disaster and reduced the SP, which contested nearly 300 seats, to just 47 seats and the Congress, 7.
Akhilesh Yadav, however, had promised to ally with the Congress even after the BJP-led alliance swept the state with 325 seats in the 403-member assembly.
He had spoken too soon.
Over the next 11 months, Akhilesh Yadav appeared to have seen the writing on the wall and kept his distance from the Congress for by-elections to Gorakhpur and Phulpur seats, UP's two VIP constituencies last represented by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya.
Instead, he pulled off a last-minute partnership with the arch rival Mayawati that top BJP leaders concede had caught them off guard. The Bahujan Samaj Party, which did not field candidates in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, supported the Samajwadi candidates, with Mayawati deploying her workers to seek votes for them.
It is widely believed to be a template that the SP and BSP would work on for the Lok Sabha elections. Akhilesh Yadav clearly did not want to get ahead of himself and ducked a question on the possibility of a SP-BSP partnership for the 2019 elections.
But he underlined that the election did send out a bigger message for the ruling BJP.
"It has been a government that hurts people... When the time comes, people teach them a lesson. It is a mandate against both the state and central government," he said.
"Achhe din did not come but at least they managed to unite the people... It is their own doing that they now have to see bure din (bad days)," Mr Yadav said.