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SP-BSP roller coaster: After 26 years, same alliance, same challenge

Punjab News Express | January 12, 2019 10:22 AM

Both SP-BSP were heading fledgling parties. For the SP, it was their maiden election after the party’s formation in October 1992 and the BSP was struggling to create a political niche in the state. Its highest tally was 12 seats in the 1991 state polls.
LUICKNOW: Ahead of the 1993 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) veterans, Kanshi Ram and Mulayam Singh Yadav,respectively, sprung a surprise in political circles by announcing an electoral alliance.

They had several rounds of secret meetings in New Delhi, of which few were aware of.

Both were heading fledgling parties. For the SP, it was their maiden election after the party’s formation in October 1992 and the BSP was struggling to create a political niche in the state. Its highest tally was 12 seats in the 1991 state polls.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—riding high on the saffron wave after the Babri Masjid’s demolition in December 1992—was confident of a windfall after its Kalyan Singh- led government was dismissed, necessitating the mid-term poll.

The BJP emerged as the single largest party, but fell short of the majority mark, bagging 177 seats in a house of 425. No other party came forward to support the BJP, which was considered ‘untouchable’ then.

The SP and BSP contested 256 and 164 seats respectively, and won 109 and 67. They mustered the support of other parties like the Congress, Communist Party of India(Marxist) and the Communist Party of India as the political narrative post-Babri demolition was secularism vs communalism.
The BJP’s aim was to create a permanent wedge between the two parties as it was detrimental to their electoral health. And they succeeded.

Barbs were exchanged, CDs were circulated and FIRs were lodged by both the parties. Mayawati later even demanded a public apology from Mulayam for the state guest house incident and said, “had he run the coalition government properly, there would have been no need for the BSP to join hands with the BJP or for Mulayam to run from pillar to post in quest of power.”

In fact, while Mulayam was the CM, Mayawati was the ‘super CM’. Both she and Kanshi Ram used to call the shots holding fortnightly monitoring of the government’s performance that culminated with the public humiliation of Mulayam.

However, much water has flown since they parted ways.

The challenge from the BJP is bigger. The spectre of Ayodhya continues to loom large over the electoral scene. And, they will have to combat the political skills of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah.

However, both SP and BSP have grown robust since 1993. They have dominated the state, rotating power in alliance with like-minded parties till 2007 when Mayawati broke the coalition jinx. Five years later in 2012, Akhilesh formed the majority government. Both were decimated by the BJP in 2017.

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