Grand alliance in UP fails to move along anticipated pattern

The eagerly awaited photo op of Janata Parivar leaders holding hands high in the air made it look almost certain that once speeches began the grand alliance or mahagathbandan would start taking shape.
Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party

Swords were out in the open in the poll-bound Uttar Pradesh as political parties locked themselves in fierce interparty rivalries and in this melee ruling Samajwadi Party tried to stitch an alliance but the efforts seem to have failed to move along the anticipated pattern.

There was anticipation that coming together of members of Janata Parivar will help in forming a grand alliance in the pattern of Bihar – but what happened at the Janeshwar Mishra stadium was a clear indication that the alliance move has failed to follow the anticipated pattern.

The party leaders apparent bid to put up a united front received a jolt. The showcase of “Mahagathbandhan”, despite the presence of some big wigs of the once third front — JD(S) HD Deve Gowda, Janata Dal (U) Sharad Yadav, RJD Lalu Prasad, SP Mulayam Singh Yadav and others appeared fragile following the spat between uncle Shivpal and his nephew Akhilesh Yadav.

The eagerly awaited photo op of Janata Parivar leaders holding hands high in the air made it look almost certain that once speeches began the grand alliance or mahagathbandan would start taking shape. But the expectations were belied.

Initially, there seemed to be some intention to form the alliance as leaders of the Janata Parivar in one voice asked the SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav to take the initiate for the alliance in UP.

The focus of attack of the Janata Parivar leaders was Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They all expressed their firm resolve to not only stop the BJP from coming to power in UP in 2017 but also defeat the party in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, owing to the feud in the family was earlier opposed to the idea of an alliance with other parties has now softened his stand on this issue. Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday separately met the RJD chief Lalu Yadav, JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, RLD chief Ajit Singh and former Prime Minister HD Deva Gowda, president of the JD(S).

The Chief Minister also had a separate meeting with the poll strategist of the Congress Prashant Kishore, who was staying in the same hotel where the leaders of the Janata Parivar had checked in on Friday. Akhilesh Yadav met the leaders for about 50 minutes and refused to share the details of meeting with the media.

Akhilesh Yadav however said “ we are looking for the long-term alliance with the like-minded parties for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, not merely for 2017 UP assembly elections’’.

JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav said “Samajwadi Party has to decide everything. They have to decide as to how they intend to fight the next UP assembly election. Samajwadi party is a big party and only Mulayam Singh Yadav will take a final call on this issue’’.

But everything came to naught once Chacha and Bhatija spoke at the silver jubilee function. Initially, the duo tried to express that everything is fine inside the party and family but the war of words and overt and covert swipes spoke otherwise. Despite efforts of Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda to show them united, speeches of both Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav were very emotional and sounded otherwise.

After a hint from the RJD chief, the Chief Minister took blessings of his uncle Shivpal Yadav by touching his feet and Mr Gowda raised the hand of both uncle and nephew together to communicate all is well in the Yadav family.
The function was attended by leaders of the Janata Parivar parties –RJD chief Lalu Prasad, JD(U) leaders Sharad Yadav and KC Tyagi, JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda, RLD President Ajit Singh, and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, besides several other leaders. The show fuelled speculations about an alliance of non-BJP parties taking shape ahead of the coming Assembly elections.

The UP CM said, “Lohia used to say that people will listen to me but after my death. I also say that people will listen to me but when everything will be destroyed in SP.”

He said, “It’s not so that youth of the party have not contributed in strengthening the party. The young generation has contributed with seniors in the growth of the party. I also can give any test.”