By Abhishek Shukla
Mainpuri, Apr 19 (PTI) Ending their 24-year rivalry to take on the BJP, BSP supremo Mayawati shared the stage with Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav here on Friday and sought votes for him, saying he was a “real leader” of the backward communities “unlike” Prime Minister Narendra Modi whom she dubbed as “farzi” (fake).
The two leaders have not seen eye to eye ever since Mayawati was allegedly assaulted by SP cadres in VVIP Guest House in Lucknow in 1995, though the parties had run a coalition government in Uttar Pradesh for two years prior to that.
Addressing a joint rally with the BSP supremo, Yadav, who is contesting Lok Sabha polls from the SP citadel of Mainpuri, said he will never forget Mayawati’s gesture for his “last election” and called his party workers and supporters to “always respect Mayawati ji”, reflecting the changed ties.
But the 1995 incident was clearly weighing on her mind as Mayawati defended her alliance with the SP saying “sometimes we have to take such difficult decisions in the interest of the country, public and party movement”.
“There is no doubt that Mulayam Singh ji has taken members of all sections of society especially other backwards classes along with him under the SP banner and they consider him as their only and true leader… he is not a ‘naqli’ or ‘farzi’ backward (leader) like Narendra Modi…,” the BSP supremo said in her speech after a rousing reception from people, comprising mainly of Samajwadi Party supporters, at the Christian College ground.
The glacial wall that existed between the two leaders since 1995 melted in the hot summer afternoon as a smiling Mayawati earlier stood up to welcome a very frail-looking 79-year Mulayam Singh Yadav who came on stage assisted by his close aides.
Wearing her signature cream coloured salwar suit, Mayawati was flanked by Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son and SP president Akhilesh Yadav on either side on the dais.
As an SP MLA bowed before Mayawati touching her feet, the SP patron, who was the first to address the rally, said, “I and Mayawatiji are on the same dais after a long time”.
He said Mayawati had come to seek votes for him in his last election which is he is contesting to respect the wishes of the people.
“I want to tell all of you that you should all respect Mayawati ji. She has come to support me, I will never forget this,” he said.
The Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) have joined hands as the three parties have been facing existential crisis after the BJP bagged 71 seats out of 80 seats Lok Sabha polls and repeated its spectacular performance in 2017 assembly elections. The BSP and RLD had failed to open account in 2014, while the SP had won five seats. The tie-up has proved a success against the BJP in bypolls in the state.
The leaders want to repeat the 1993 mid-term poll experiment when Kanshi Ram, the then BSP chief, and Mulayam Singh Yadav had joined hands to stop the BJP which was sailing on the Ram Temple movement wave
In her speech, Mayawati attacked Modi, alleging he “misused government machinery” to list his upper caste into “backward category” during his tenure as the chief minister of Gujarat.
She attacked Modi for saying that the first letters of the SP, RLD and BSP spell ‘Sarab’. “The enthusiasm of workers show they are intoxicated with a zeal to oust the BJP from power,” Mayawati said.
Modi had used wordplay to attack the parties, which the opposition said was a comparison with alcohol.
Mayawati said she did not want to “waste time” by explaining reasons behind stitching an alliance with SP even after the treatment meted out to her during the government of Mulayam Singh Yadav.
“I know people must be wondering why I have come here to campaign for Mulayam Singhji despite the state guest house case.
“In the interest of the country, public and party movement, sometimes we have to take such difficult decisions. Keeping this thought and seeing the present circumstances in the country we have decided to contest this election in alliance with the SP in Uttar Pradesh,” the Bahujan Samaj Party leader said.
“He (Mulayam) is not a false and fake member of backward community like Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mulayam Singh ji is original, real and from backward community by birth. It is very well known that Narendra Modi during his tenure in Gujarat misused his government machinery to bring his forward caste in the list of backward classes,” she said.
“Mulayam Singh Yadav ji has really taken care of this area. He has a special liking to Mainpuri so I want to say that he did not leave this area even at this age and promised to serve Mainpuri till his last breath like a real servant not a fake one like Narendra Modi. He has come to you. Do not forget ‘cycle’,” she said, referring to the Sp’s poll symbol.
She also lauded SP President Akhilesh Yadav calling him the “sole heir” of Mulayam Singh Yadav who is taking forward his legacy with dedication.
During his speech, Yadav also attacked the Centre, alleging that it had broken the backbone of businesses and the agriculture sector. He termed the rally has an “historic occasion”.
The BSP president fumbled while ending the speech and raised the customary ‘Jai Bhim’ slogan of her party. However, she quickly added “Jai Lohia and Jai Bharat” slogan of Samajwadi Party.