Political observers have begun questioning the political acumen of Akhilesh Yadav who, after conceding the defeat of the Samajwadi Party in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh election, has now received a drubbing of a lifetime in the Lok Sabha election. Against the sane advice of many on how a BSP-SP alliance would pan out, he believed the Phulpur by-election in 2018 gave him an unbeatable formula against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP.
A year ago, Uttar Pradesh saw a turning point in politics when SP-BSP decided to fight the elections of Gorakhpur and Phulpur together. These were supposed to be the bastions of the chief minister and the deputy chief minister respectively. It was believed no other party other than the BJP could win here. But then, the SP, with the support of the BSP, seized Yogi Adityanath’s stronghold and Keshav Prasad Maurya’s fortress.
Repeating this formula of the by-elections, the SP-BSP extended its scope in the Kairana by-poll. They took along Ajit Singh, the Jat leader of western Uttar Pradesh. The RLD’s Tabasum Hassan snatched Kairana from the BJP, the death of whose MP Hukum Singh had necessitated that by-election.
The results of the three by-elections above laid the foundation of the belief that an SP-BSP-RLD alliance would be formidable for the Lok Sabha election of 2019 too. However, the BJP won Gorakhpur, Phulpur as well as Kairana once again.
Before this election, the SP had seven Lok Sabha seats, which has gone down to five, with the SP suffering a greater loss than the BSP.
In 2014, the SP had won five seats, with each represented by a Yadav. This time, the SP was routed even in its stronghold Kannauj, from where Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple Yadav was the candidate.
The SP lost in Firozabad from where Ram Gopal’s son Akshay Yadav was their candidate. In Badayun, SP MP Dharmendra Yadav was defeated by BJP’s Sanghamitra Maurya. The so-called mahagathbandhan had fielded BSP and RLD candidates in these seats although the SP had won them in 2014.
The BJP has now equalised the match with the SP, avenging the defeats of Phulpur and Gorakhpur a year ago. The BJP has won 62 of the 80 seats in the State while the Congress has won one and NDA constituent Apna Dal won two seats.
There was some relief for the BSP, though. In May 2014, Mayawati’s party had been cleansed from the State. The BSP has won 10 seats in Uttar Pradesh in the just concluded election, but it could not help the SP candidates in other seats.
The worst condition is that of the RLD. Party president Ajit Singh and his son Jayant Chaudhary lost the seats they fought for. Of course, the party has scored a blank in 2014 too.
It is clear from the results of 2019 that the SP-BSP combine did not prove effective in the general election. Although the two parties had threw up credible challenges at the BJP in some seats, the alliance’s candidates could not succeed by and large.
In Uttar Pradesh, the SP and BSP had come together, forgetting the bitterness of the guest house scandal — to no avail. The Gorakhpur-Phulpur-Kairana formula went kaput as the Modi tsunami struck. This can mean only one thing. While the Yadav voters had no problem in electing BSP candidates, Dalit voters did not like the SP candidates except in five seats of Uttar Pradesh. And neither caste voted for the Jat party. Of course, many also rose above their castes to vote for Modi.