Barely moments after the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) announced the seat-sharing deal in Uttar Pradesh, SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav made it clear that he is upset with the alliance forged by his son Akhilesh Yadav with Mayawati. Singh expressed unhappiness over the Uttar Pradesh pact ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, questioning why Akhilesh Yadav gave "half" the seats to Mayawati's party. Addressing the party workers at SP headquarters in Lucknow, Mulayam urged them to approach him if they sought the ticket to contest the parliamentary polls and suggested that he could "change" any decision taken by Akhilesh Singh Yadav.
Now, tell me what is the basis for giving away half the seats. Now we have only half the seats left. Our party was stronger," he was quoted as saying. "We are strong; our men are weakening the party. What a strong party we had made, and I became the CM and the defence minister as well," he said, suggesting that the SP had seen better days under him.
BJP's election preparation is better. It has an edge over us, he told party workers and suggested that candidates should be announced soon so that they can begin work on the ground. Mulayam also urged the workers to apply to him for the tickets. "How many of you have given applications to me? Nobody. Then how will you get the ticket? Akhilesh will give the ticket, but I can change it," he said.
Speaking on the last day of the Budget Session 2019 earlier this month, Mulayam Singh Yadav had triggered much speculation when he wished that Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns to power in 2019 "I hope all members will win and return, and you will become the prime minister again," he was quoted as saying in the Lok Sabha.
Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati had jointly announced the alliance in January, saying the SP and the BSP will contest 38 seats each out of the 80 in Uttar Pradesh. However, in the list released Thursday, the SP will fight only 37 seats and the BSP 38.
Mulayam and Mayawati have been at loggerheads since 1995 when an unruly mob of SP workers had stormed into the Meerabai Guest House in Lucknow where Mayawati was huddled in a meeting with her MLAs. This led to the break-up of the then SP-BSP alliance which was formed to stop the BJP's winning spree following the Ram temple movement.
In 1993, then SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP founder Kanshi Ram had joined hands and succeeded in leaving a mark in the state politics by winning 167 Assembly seats. The BSP had got 67 seats and SP 109.
However, the infamous Meerabai Guest House incident had left an indelible mark in the relationship between the two parties. It was said Kanshi Ram made numerous efforts to revive the coalition, but Mayawati held the fort in her opposition to a possible tie-up.