Mayawati took centre stage flanked by SP patron Mulayam and party president Akhilesh Yadav who sat by either side on stage in the Yadav family bastion.
Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati shared the dais on Friday at a poll rally in Mainpuri after a gap of 24 years. While Yadav accorded her a warm welcome and asked his supporters to always respect her, the BSP president described the SP patron as a ‘real leader’ of the backwards unlike Prime Minister Narendra Modi whom she dubbed as “farzi (fake)”.
This is the first time the two leaders have come together to address the joint SP-BSP rally after their bitter fallout in 1995. Mayawati had snapped all ties with the Samajwadi Party after the infamous ‘guest house incident’ in which SP workers attacked a state guest house where the BSP chief was camping with her supporters. Today, Mayawati took centrestage flanked by SP patron Mulayam and party president Akhilesh Yadav who sat by either side on stage in the Yadav family bastion. Courtesies aside, both parties took the stage to launch a scathing attack at Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as the Congress party’s minimum income guarantee scheme.
Key takeaways from Mainpuri rally:
- Mulayam Sigh Yadav began his speech in Mainpuri with these words: “Happy to share stage with Mayawatiji.” Terming the coming together of the two UP heavyweights as a historic decision, Mulayam said he was filled with gratitude and asked his supporters at the poll rally to always respect Mayawati.
- Mayawati, a fierce rival of the Samajwadi Party until a few months ago, defended her move to enter into an alliance with SP (and RLD) for the Lok Sabha elections. Arguing that tough decisions need to be taken in view of the prevailing situation, Mayawati said that her decision was guided by national interest. “I know people must be wondering why I have come here to campaign for Mulayam Singhji despite the State Guest House case…sometimes in janhit and party movement some difficult decisions have to be taken,” she said.
- In a rare display of bonhomies, BSP chief Mayawati lauded Mulayam Singh Yadav and called him the real leader of the backwards. “There is no doubt that Mulayam Singh has taken members of all sections of society along with him under the SP banner….he is the real leader, especially of backwards who still consider him as leader…he is not a ‘naqli’ or ‘farzi’ backward (leader) like Narendra Modi …,” the BSP supremo said.
- The tipping point of the rally came when Mayawati urged the voters of Mainpuri to vote for Mulayam Singh Yadav in large numbers and ensure his victory in the Lok Sabha elections by a record margin. Mayawati’s speech was laden with praise for the SP patriarch and exuded confidence that the Mahagathbandhan would convincingly defeat the BJP in the ongoing elections.
- BSP chief Mayawati slammed Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s NYAY scheme that promises minimum income guarantee for 5 crore poor families. She said that Congress has promised economic assistance but it won’t be enough. In a big pooll promise, Mayawati said that if the Mahagathbandhan comes to power at the Centre, it will ensure jobs for the poor in government as well as the private sector.
- According to some media reports, Mulayam Singh Yadav was not too keen on sharing the stage with Mayawati at the Mainpuri rally on Friday. But he was cajoled by his son and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav for his presence. In these elections, Mulayam Singh Yadav has not actively campaigned for any of SP candidates including his relatives.
- Mulayam Singh Yadav had never slammed Mayawati with the same ferocity with which the BSP chief had done in the past. In the battle of survival, Mulayam on Friday shared the stage with his political rival Mayawati. The SP patriarch did not come on the dais in previous two rallies of Mahagathbandhan.
- After the SP and BSP forged an alliance, there was widespread speculation whether the workers of both the parties will be able to take forward the agenda together. Poll analysts believe that the social engineering of this alliance is difficult and termed the Mainpuri rally as the first exhibition of the unity of the Mahagathbandhan.
- Two years after the two leaders came together along with smaller parties to keep the BJP out of power, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati fell out when their ruling coalition in UP crashed in 1995. The two leaders stayed in the coalition government in UP for over 1.5 years.
- Mulayam Singh Yadav is considered as the tallest Yadav leader in the UP politics. After the second phase of Lok Sabha election, most of the constituencies that will go to polls in UP have a large Yadav voter concentration. The Mahagathbandhan has been relying on Mulayam Singh Yadav’s core voter base to increase their seat count in UP.
Voting for the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh concluded on Thursday. Uttar Pradesh recorded a voter turnout of 66.06 per cent in the second phase. The remaining 64 Lok Sabha seats will go to polls in the next five phases of elections. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.