New Delhi: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati has asked party leaders and workers to be prepared to contest the Uttar Pradesh assembly bypolls on their own, a decision that has raised questions over the future of the 'gathbandhan'. At a meeting of the BSP's Uttar Pradesh unit on Monday in the national capital, she also asked office bearers, MLAS and newly-elected MPs to not depend on the alliance to win votes but to improve the party's organisation.
The BSP chief has said the Lok Sabha poll drubbing in Uttar Pradesh was due to the "poor performance" of the alliance with the SP. According to some of those present in the meeting, Mayawati also referred to the family feud in the Yadav clan, saying after Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav's younger brother Shivpal decided to contest separately the community votes were not transferred to the BSP, and the SP could not even save its "family seats".
While Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple lost the election by over 12,000 votes in Kannauj, his two cousins Dharmendra Yadav and Akshay Yadav also lost from Badaun and Ferozabad constituencies respectively. Significantly, the BSP got 10 seats in this Lok Sabha polls as against 2014 polls when it could not even manage one seat. She told the gathering at the party headquarters here that the BSP won 10 seats in UP due to its traditional vote bank and the votes of Samajwadi Party could not get transferred to its candidates.
However, Mayawati did not directly talk about the future of the alliance with Akhilesh Yadav's SP and only asked the party workers to adopt a "wait and watch" policy till their family dispute was over, according to BSP sources. "Neither did she criticise the SP or Akhilesh, nor did she say that the alliance was over or as good as over," a source said.
When asked about Mayawati's comments, SP Spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhry told PTI, "We will wait to know about the official stand of the BSP on alliance's performance in the Lok Sabha elections, after that we will decide what we have to do." A total of 11 assembly bypolls are due in UP after the respective MLAs won the Lok Sabha polls. While nine BJP MLAs emerged victorious in the LS polls, one each from the BSP and the SP was elected to the lower house.
She cited "poor performance" of its alliances in various states during assembly and Lok Sabha elections to emphasise that the BSP will have to strengthen its own organisational structure and not to depend on other parties to win votes in the assembly bypolls. Mayawati's comments to the party unit assume significance as the BSP does not usually contest bypolls.