Mayawati Shows Her GuilesThat the road to opposition unity has more potholes than roads in Indian cities is proved once again by Mayawatis u-turn on the alliance with the SP. She has said that the BSP will not help Akhileshs party in the ensuing Lok Sabha by-poll in Kairana and the assembly by-poll in Noorpur. This comes after her earlier statement after the defeat of her candidate in the RS elections that she knows the game the BJP is playing and will not let them succeed. That statement had raised the hopes that the BSP supremo would continue with her experiment of uniting backward class voters to stump the BJP. But after holding a meeting with the district and zonal coordinators of her party, Mayawati said that party cadres will not be activated for the two by-polls, dashing the hopes of a fruitful alliance between SP and BSP.
By Sunil Garodia
One can make out two things from this. First, before Phulpur and Gorakhpur by-polls, Mayawati had already said that she was not interested in putting up candidates in by-polls as they did not amount to much while draining resources and energy. So she tried to make the best of the situation by getting into a quid pro quo arrangement with the SP whereby she supported it in the by-polls in return for 10 votes in the RS elections. She could manage to convince her coordinators then and they worked to convert the BSP votes in favour of the SP candidate. But with the RS result not going in BSPs favour, the coordinators have now convinced Mayawati not to extend the arrangement.
Then, the coordinators must have also impressed upon Mayawati that once it becomes a habit with BSP voters to vote for SP candidates, there is no guarantee that they will come back to the BSP fold. Mayawati herself knows the machinations Mulayam Singh Yadav is capable of and she must have realized the folly of blindly supporting the SP. However much she would like to dent BJPs fortune, she would not like it at the cost of her own party and that too when it would directly strengthen the rival SP. Further, the voter on the ground would also start asking awkward questions if he or she is regularly asked to vote for SP candidates. Mayawati has shown what she can do by transferring her votes to the SP. Now that she has a huge bargain point, she will use it to the best of her advantage when the time comes.
But the 2019 general elections will be a different kettle of fish. Then, there would be 80 Lok Sabha seats up for grabs. Mayawati would bargain hard with the SP and the two parties could share the seats according to an agreed formula. But for now, she would also like to show the other side to the SP. By not supporting the SP candidates in the Kairana and Noorpur by-polls, Mayawati wants to show them that without her they will not win despite the perceived strong backlash against the Yogi Adityanath government. If BJP manages to win the two by-polls, Mayawatis hand will become stronger. Really, she is playing her cards extremely well. It just goes on to show that in politics, a strong regional leader can be down but never out.