Lucknow: Just when political analysts thought that the demand for reservation within reservation would be a major political issue in Uttar Pradesh in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, it is the division within a divided Opposition that is going to be the deciding factor in the elections.
Two stalwarts of Opposition politics — Shivpal Yadav of Samajwadi Party and independent legislator Raghuraj Pratap Singh a.k.a. Raja Bhaiyya — have decided to float their own parties and this is bound to change the complexion of politics in the state.
The emergence of Bhim Army in western UP is also set to upset political calculations.
Mr Shivpal Yadav was one of the senior most leaders in the Samajwadi Party after its founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, till he fell out of favor with his nephew Akhilesh Yadav who now heads the Samajwadi Party.
When Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav led the SP, it was Shivpal Yadav who set up and strengthened the party network. With him now striking out on his own and forming his own party, it is the Samajwadi Party that will be hit in the face.
Mr Shivpal Yadav, who has started touring the state, is not only attracting huge crowds but SP leaders who find themselves sidelined in the Akhilesh era, are crossing over to the Shivpal side.
“It is for the SP leaders to understand why people are leaving them. I faced humiliation for almost two years and others who are facing a similar situation, are now walking out,” said Mr Shivpal Yadav.
Shivpal Yadav may or may not win seats for his party but he will certainly damage SP by weaning away a section of Yadav and Muslim votes in central UP which is the strongest base of the SP.
Raja Bhaiyya, though an independent MLA for six terms, has been a youth icon for Thakurs in Uttar Pradesh. He has now announced that he will formally launch a new party on November 30, the day he completes 25 years in politics.
Raja Bhaiyya’s party, which will have a definite anti-BSP posture, is bound to attract Thakur votes. This will, again, damage the SP which had enjoyed Thakur support, mainly due to Raja Bhaiyya’s proximity with Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav. “I have decided to form my own party because my supporters want me to do so. I have held extensive consultations with my people and my party will have its own identity,” said Raja Bhaiyya.
These two leaders will cut into the Samajwadi Party’s vote base and have an adverse impact on the SP’s prospects in the Lok Sabha elections.
If SP is facing rough weather ahead due to this division, the BSP is also looking towards turbulent times ahead. The Bhim Army in western UP is gaining ground and making inroads into young Dalit voters who connect better with its chief Chandra Shekhar.
Ms Mayawati has already snubbed Chandra Shekhar who extended an olive branch when he came out of jail last month. Chandra Shekhar called Ms Mayawati his aunt but the BSP president said that she would not have any relationship with the ‘likes of Chandra Shekhar’.