India leader ends 'grand alliance' after election rout

Published: June 04, 2019 21:39:01 | Updated: June 05, 2019 18:11:31



Indian politician Mayawati has ended her party's much-talked about alliance with a rival party after their rout in the recent general election, reports BBC.

Her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) tied up with the Samajwadi Party (SP) to contest the 80 seats in the bellwether state of Uttar Pradesh in the north.

They won just 15, while the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 62.

Ms Mayawati said BSP will fight upcoming by-elections alone, but did not rule out an alliance in the future.

"It is not a permanent break," she told reporters on Tuesday, adding that she would reconsider the alliance if the SP improved its performance in upcoming by-elections.

A third regional party Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) - which did not win any of the three seats it contested - was also part of the mahagatbandhan or "grand alliance

Ms Mayawati is a Dalit icon (formerly known as untouchable) and four-time chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. And SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav is a former defence minister who also served as UP chief minister thrice. His son, Akshilesh, now leads the party.

Reacting to the news, Akhilesh Yadav said his party would also contest the 11 seats up for grabs in the by-elections alone. He added that he would "reflect deeply" on why the coalition had failed.

Stitched together ahead of the general election, the alliance between two regional heavyweights was widely expected to hurt the BJP.

The alliance was expected to consolidate two crucial vote banks to defeat the BJP - the BSP's Dalit vote and the SP's Yadav and Muslim votes. The SP has traditionally been popular among lower castes such as the Yadavs and Muslims.

Ms Mayawati even chose not to contest the election saying she preferred to "concentrate on the alliance".

It was also a sign of how badly they wanted to beat the governing party as Ms Mayawati and the senior Mr Yadav have long been at loggerheads.


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