With the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party deciding to contest the UP assembly bypolls separately, the ruling BJP on Tuesday ridiculed the two parties for parting ways within a fortnight after the Lok Sabha results, saying it was bound to happen as their leaders had come together only to serve their self-interest.
BJP leaders said that when Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav announced their alliance in January this year, they relied heavily on caste arithmetic, but it failed.
"The voters rejected outright the casteist and opportunistic politics of these two parties," UP BJP spokesperson Hero Bajpai told PTI.
The BJP bagged 62 of 80 Lok Sabha seats while the SP-BSP-RLD grand alliance won only 15.
The two back-to-back media interactions by the chiefs of BSP and the SP Tuesday, which put a question mark on the fate of the alliance, came as music to the ears of the BJP leaders who recalled that during the election rallies Prime Minister Narendra Modi had predicted that May 23 will be the "expiry date" for the grouping, and their leaders "will tear each others' clothes" after the Lok Sabha poll results are declared that day.
Alleging that SP-BSP alliance was a 'thagbandhan' to dupe people, UP BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey said, "Voters called their bluff. It was an opportunistic alliance forged to save their own families and hide acts of corruption. The alliance never had any vision or thoughts and had nothing to do for the welfare of the public."
Speaking in the same vein, UP Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma said it was the main reason why the alliance "died".
"The main reason for the alliance of SP and BSP falling apart is that it followed the mantra of 'apna swaarth, apna vikaas' (self interest) unlike the mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas (for all, development of all) given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This was an opportunistic alliance, and it was bound to fall apart," he said.
"The gathbandhan died on May 23, and on the 13th day, the ally partners have parted ways," he said, in an apparent reference to post-death Hindu rituals performed on the 13th day.
The "voter is not a bonded labourer" of any particular political party, and he or she has the right to choose any representative, he said.
In a statement, Mayawati said her party will fight the assembly bypolls alone and that she can work with the SP in future if Akhilesh Yadav is able to "fulfil his duties".
Reacting to the statement, Yadav told reporters in Ghazipur, "if the alliance ends", the SP will also field candidates on all 11 seats up for bypolls.
The BSP chief claimed that the SP's Yadav supporters did not go along with the party in the polls which helped the BJP. However, Pandey said, "it is the old habit of the BSP chief that when she loses elections, instead of learning a lesson, she blames a particular caste or religion".
The state BJP chief also claimed that Akhilesh Yadav "has proved to be a failure" in carrying forward the political legacy of his father.
"Mayawati from the day one of the gathbandhan, had left no stone unturned in proving that Akhilesh is incompetent and inexperienced," said Akhilesh Yadav.
Pandey said, "By parting ways, she has given indication that a person who does not command the faith and trust of his father, uncle and family, how can he be ours (jo apne pitaa, chacha aur parivaar kaa nahi huaa, woh hamaaraa kya hogaa?)," . Pandey said
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said the alliance was formed only to stop Prime Minister Modi from coming back to power. "It has miserably failed, and its disintegration was certain," he said,
In the midst of electioneering, the prime minister persistently attacked the SP-BSP-RLD alliance, claiming that Mayawati has understood that the SP and the Congress are playing a "big game" with her by keeping her in the dark about their understanding.
Though the BSP improved its performance from zero seats in 2014 Lok Sabha election to 10 in 2019, it was not what Mayawati had expected when she decided to forget her bitter rivalry with the Samajwadi Party to form the grand alliance, said a politcal analyst.
Even Modi in his election rallies did not mince words in reminding the electorate that Mayawati was daggers drawn against the SP after the 1995 Lucknow guest house incident when she was assaulted by Mulayam Singh Yadav's supporters for pulling out of the coalition government in UP.
The BJP leaders said it is a lesson for Mayawati that election in Uttar Pradesh is no longer a caste calculus but more about personal appeal and strategic outreach to voters.
Modi in his thanksgiving speech in Varanasi had on May 27 said the "results show that beyond arithmetic there is chemistry and this time chemistry has triumphed over arithmetic".
When Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav came together for the Lok Sabha polls, there was speculation in political circles that she would be projected as prime ministerial candidate post-polls and the SP chief as chief ministerial candidate for 2022 Uttar Pradesh assembly election.
The BSP supremo had herself made known her political ambitions by throwing enough hints during the poll campaign that she considered herself to be in the race for the prime minister's post, should the opposition manage to contain the BJP.
But her dreams were shattered with the Modi wave taking the BJP's strength in Lok Sabha beyond the majority mark of 272 in the 543-member House.
The BJP has won 303 seats and the NDA has a combined strength of 353 in Lok Sabha.