The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Another shot at split and rule

Lucknow, Aug. 25: When chief minister Mayavati threw an open challenge at the BJP today at the BSP workers’ convention here, it was evident what she was driving at.

“We had been suspecting that the BJP leaders had been trying to backstab us. But we kept quiet because we didn’t want to be the one to break the alliance. Now that they have shown their true colours, the Bahujan Samaj will teach them a lesson,” she said.

“It (recommended dissolution of Assembly) will only convince the Dalits that they must never trust any Manuwadi party,” state BSP chief K.K. Sachan said. He added that Mayavati had almost perfected the art of using governance as a tool to further her political objectives.

The party has had five alliances in the last decade — with the Samajwadi Party in 1993, the BJP in 1995, the Congress in 1996, and the BJP again in 1997 and 2002. “After these alliances broke up, the BSP’s vote bank increased while that of its allies shrunk,” Sachan said.

BSP sources said Mayavati has timed the latest break perfectly. “The BSP may not be in a position to form a government in any of the four (major) states where Assembly elections are due next — Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan — but the party has enough Dalit following to tilt the balance in all these states,” a party leader said.

No wonder, both the Congress and the BJP would have ideally liked the BSP to be allied with them, even as a distant and untrustworthy friend. By breaking away from the BJP now, Mayavati has opened the doors for negotiations with the Congress — possibly with chief minister Ajit Jogi of Chhattisgarh or his Delhi counterpart, Sheila Dikshit.

“Even the mighty Digvijay Singh of Madhya Pradesh may not be averse to a loose understanding with her. During the last Assembly elections, Singh had advocated this path to the Congress high command,” a senior BSP leader said.

Mayavati’s jilting of the BJP might even encourage supporters of a tie-up with the BSP within the Congress central leadership to open a dialogue with her.

This is probably what the BSP is looking for as its stated objective is to capture the Centre. Kanshi Ram had said: “In UP, seeking our help has been a political compulsion of all major parties. Now, we want to create a similar situation at the national level.”

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