Behenji Turned Bae: Will Mayawati Play Kingmaker in the 2019 General Elections?

Politics

Behenji Turned Bae: Will Mayawati Play Kingmaker in the 2019 General Elections?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

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n June 2, 1995 Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party pulled out of the coalition government in Uttar Pradesh led by Samajwadi Party’s Mulayam Singh. What unfolded in the aftermath is often referred to as the Black Day in Uttar Pradesh politics. Enraged over losing majority, SP leaders and workers broke into the state guest house and abducted BSP MLAs to force them to join the rebel legislators’ group, before attacking Mayawati who had locked herself in her room. It was Bharatiya Janata Party’s Brahm Dutt Dwivedi who escorted Mayawati to safety, risking his life by challenging the SP goons. The resulting rivalry between SP and the BSP became the stuff of legend for the next 23 years.

It took a generational shift within the SP before the two parties joined hands again – this time for the bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur assembly seats last year, when the two parties rallied against the BJP. Former friends became current enemies… but as we know, in politics, nothing lasts forever. The victory in Yogi Adityanath’s Gorakhpur is what probably convinced Akhilesh Yadav to consider a long-term deal with Mayawati ahead of 2019, something his father would probably never have dreamt of. Will this mark a turning point for the BJP’s fortunes in the country?

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