By Sunil Garodia
What is brewing in UP, the state the opposition thinks is going to deliver the knockout punch to the NDA? That all is not hunky-dory with the SP-BSP-RLD alliance is known to all for a long time. The alliance has been silent only because it has been trying to get its house in order. But it has now come to light that the Nishad Party, a small but significant member of the alliance, has broken away and joined the NDA.
It needs reminding that though the SP won the Gorakhpur seat in the by-election last year, the person who won it was Praveen Kumar Nishad, son of Sanjay Nishad, the founder of the Nishad Party. Praveen Nishad used the SP symbol after a tie-up between the two parties. The party has a huge following in the fishermen and boatmen communities as they feel let down by both the BSP and the SP. The Nishad Party also has an alliance with the Peace Party which makes it even more potent. It remains to be seen if their alliance will survive as the Peace Party looks after the interests of Muslims in addition to the dalits and other backward classes and they will not be much enthused to join the NDA.
Hence, the breaking away of Nishad from the alliance and its joining the NDA means that several seats in eastern UP where the SP-BSP could have won now look tricky. It also means that after the by-election shame, Yogi Adityanath has engineered this coup to prevent his home turf from going the opposition way. It will be very difficult for the SP candidate to win Gorakhpur without the support of the Nishad party which has a huge following there.
The UP scenario is hotting up because, despite the SP-BSP-RLD alliance that includes some smaller parties, almost all constituencies are going to witness multi cornered contests with the Congress and the AAP also fielding candidates. Since the combined vote share of SP-BSP-RLD alliance falls short of that of the BJP, the opposition needed to be united to defeat it. It has been seen in past elections that though nowhere in the picture, the Congress and the AAP can take away enough votes so as to spoil the day for the SP-BSP-RLD.