Mahagathbandhan, an opposition grand alliance lost in wonderland
By Namita Bajpai | Published: 29th July 2017 11:07 PM |
LUCKNOW: The sound of an upheaval in the neighbourhood is still resonating in the political circles of Uttar Pradesh. And the most rattled in the process is the renewed effort to cobble together an anti-BJP grand alliance in the state.
The prospect of two Lok Sabha bypolls within the next two months had given the opposition an opportunity to put together a combined resistance against a rampaging BJP. It was speculated that BSP chief Mayawati, after her resignation from the Rajya Sabha, would be the Opposition candidate from Phulpur, to be vacated by Deputy CM Keshav Maurya.
A chance win from the seat—which has a sizeable population of Dalits and MBC votes and which BJP has never won before 2014—would give a huge psychological boost to the combined opposition before 2019, it was thought. But that was before July 26. Now after Bihar’s political turmoil, the most saleable face of the mahagathbandhan, Nitish Kumar, has already switched sides while the three other main players—Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal—are caught in their own battles.
The Adityanath Yogi government has ordered a probe into most projects and schemes launched during the SP government led by Akhilesh Yadav. Mayawati and her brother are hounded by disproportionate assets charges, and the ED and CBI are breathing down the necks of the entire Lalu Prasad Yadav clan.
“The prospects of any anti-BJP grand alliance are very bleak. SP and RJD have never gelled. After Nitish’s U-turn, the prospects of unity among SP, BSP and RJD and Congress are not much,” says S R Darapuri, former IPS officer and Dalit activist. “They sing secularism every time and their secular credentials are not sound. Mayawati has aligned with BJP thrice and SP joined hands with Kalyan Singh and had taken saffron support to form the government in 2002. Besides, the issue of corruption is the weakest link in way of cobbling up any opposition alliance.”
Day after Bihar’s coup, its rub-off effect is showing in UP. On Saturday, as BJP chief Amit Shah landed in Lucknow, there were strings of resignations from MLCs—two from SP and one from BSP. Many more may follow the suit. The vacant seats in the council may help BJP adjust its CM and four ministers, who are not members of any of the Houses.