The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tacit alliance was out in the open at Kundarki in Uttar Pradesh after an audio clip of BSP candidate from Kundarki Assembly segment and sitting MLA, Haji Rizwan, went viral. Haji Rizwan can be heard openly appealing to his supporters to cast their votes in favor of the BJP “to prevent Samajwadi Party (SP)’s Ziaur Rahman, the grandson of Sambhal MP Dr. Shafiqur Rahman Barq, from winning the seat.” Rizwan, who had recently switched his loyalties from the SP after being denied a ticket, was unfazed. He told reporters that “under no circumstances” should the SP candidate win. “So, I appealed to my voters. I said nothing wrong. What else should I have said differently? We have supported Dr (Shafiqur Rahman) Barq five times in the past, but this time, it’s different,” he grumbled.
In the audio clip, Rizwan while speaking to Ajay Kumar Prajapati, a cousin of BJP candidate from the seat Kamal Prajapati, can be heard saying in Hindi, “If your people vote for me let them do so, but if they are planning to cast their vote for SP, it should not happen.” The BSP candidate Haji Rizwan was slammed by the SP candidate Ziaur Rahman thus: “My grandfather Dr. Barq won because of the people of the constituency and not because of Rizwan. Now, he is asking voters to support the BJP when the entire state wants to throw them out of power. I am sure voters of Kundarki will teach him a fitting lesson for his shameful deed.”
Haji Rizwan allegedly put the new strategy blame on Mayawati’s shoulders. He admitted that there is a tacit alliance of the BSP with the BJP. The two parties are expected to announce a post-poll alliance and pave way for the BJP – BSP government in Uttar Pradesh. The BSP chief Mayawati is reportedly in talks with the BJP leadership to finalize the alliance. If the post-poll alliance takes shape, Mayawati will join the Narendra Modi government as the Deputy Prime Minister. Narendra Modi’s blue-eyed boy Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra Teni will be the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and the BSP’s Satishchandra Mishra will be one of the deputy chief ministers. The second deputy chief minister will be a Dalit from the BSP. Ashish Mishra, the alleged main culprit in the mowing to death of the four innocent farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri was released from prison on bail yesterday. Ashish Mishra Teni has been deployed for the campaign in the 8 seats of Lakhimpur Kheri, a couple of days ago. Brahmins are in considerable number in these 8 seats. So, BJP sees a chance despite farmers’ protests. Muslims and Kurmis form the other chunk of voters in Lakhimpur Kheri.
It is significant to recall that the BSP has given tickets to more than 100 Muslims for the 2022 polls after a suggestion from the BJP. In many constituencies, BSP has put up Muslim candidates to divide the Muslim votes and facilitate the BJP’s chances. This was visible in the first and the second phase of the polls. The SP has put up Yadav candidates even in Muslim concentrated seats and this has annoyed a section of the Muslims, who voted for the BSP. The BJP’s strategy seems to be working as of now. The Muslim vote is divided through the BSP. An overwhelming majority of Muslims voted for the Samajwadi Party. In places like Nagina, a constituency with Muslim concentration and reserved for the SC community, the All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) candidate Lalita Kumari seems to have done well. There are 19 non-Muslim candidates fielded by the AIMIM so far.
The audio clip of Haji Rizwan is being played in the constituencies going to polls in the third phase and later. It may be recalled that Mayawati had supported the BJP earlier too and also taken its support. The last instance was in 2020. In a viral clip from October 2020, it can be seen that Mayawati had said her party would vote for the BJP or any other party’s candidate in the then-upcoming Uttar Pradesh MLC elections to defeat the SP’s “second candidate.” The latest move by Mayawati for an alliance with the BJP is to buy peace and some plum posts, apart from keeping the CBI and the ED from her doorstep. If the alliance happens, the BSP and the BJP will fight the next Lok Sabha elections in 2024 together. Narendra Modi will be able to effectively checkmate Adityanath and send him packing to Gorakhpur. How will the voters react to this BSP – BJP nexus will be known when the results are out in March 2022?