Will Mayawati shake hands with Opposition ahead of Lok Sabha elections?

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The BSP Supremo and former UP Chief Minister Mayawati has tactfully positioned herself ahead of the beginning of the serious discussions among the Opposition parties for the seat adjustment.

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, January 4: The Samajwadi Party (SP) is keen to project the party as the sole Opposition outfit in Uttar Pradesh. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leaders are keenly watching the moves of the SP chief and former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. The SP has made its intent clear that the Opposition block, the Indian National Developmental and Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), should not seek out the BSP for pre-poll seat adjustment alliance.

The BSP Supremo and former UP Chief Minister Mayawati has tactfully positioned herself ahead of the beginning of the serious discussions among the Opposition parties for the seat adjustment. In her last presser, Mayawati tactfully argued that the BSP is totally committed to the secular values. She said that the BSP is fully a secular party.

Unlike others who have stated that they would either go or skip going to Ayodhya for the January 22 consecration of the Ram Lalla idol in the newly-built temple, the BSP supremo made a politically significant statement on the issue. Mayawati said: “My party has no issue with the temple being inaugurated this month in Ayodhya. Also, my party has no issue with the mosque that would be built in Ayodhya on the order of the court.”

The BSP supremo made cleverly crafted statements on the Ayodhya Ram Temple to avoid the apparent trap of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Her assertion that the BSP is a fully secular political party indeed positions Mayawati in a position of political interest ahead of the negotiations for the seat adjustment among the Opposition constituents. Notably, the BSP has not yet taken any disciplinary action against party MP Shyam Singh Yadav who had argued that his party should be part of the Opposition group, INDIA.

Equally significant is the fact that the BSP supremo came down heavily on politics of religion. Mayawati in her politically sharp statement had remarked that she was anguished with the “politics behind the temple movement”. Mayawati had argued that the spread of disaffections among the people because of the politics of religion would weaken the nation while also dividing the citizens.

It is worthwhile to note that the BSP in past elections has shown hold over the 18 per cent Dalit vote base in Uttar Pradesh. If the BSP becomes part of the Opposition alliance, the Mayawati-led party may eye the 19 per cent Muslim vote base in UP. The BSP leaders claim that if the party were to join the Opposition alliance its share of the Lok Sabha seats would not be less than 35 parliamentary constituencies, and the outfit may aim to improve its performance of the 2019 election when 10 seats came to its kitty.

The SP may, however, dissuade the Opposition leaders from joining the hands with Mayawati by arguing that she had not transferred votes to the non-BSP candidates in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. But Mayawati is key to the principal aim of the Opposition to force one-on-one contest against the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

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