The “United” opposition has too many demons to deal with, the biggest among them being “ambition”. There is no point denying that the “United” opposition is a inharmonious coalition of extremely ambitious and supremely opportunistic politicians who often strike discordant notes. Rahul Gandhi considers the PM chair his patrimony. Mamata Banerjee considers herself the tallest among the opposition leaders because she was able to withstand the Modi wave in 2014 and has some impressive numbers on the board. The two old chieftains Mulayam Singh Yadav and Sharad Pawar have been nursing prime ministerial ambitions since forever. And now it seems we have a new claimant to the throne. It’s none other than Bahan Kumari Mayawati.
Following the national executive meeting of the party, the top brass BSP has called for Mayawati’s promotion as the prime ministerial candidate of the BSP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. To quote a leader present there, ‘She is the tallest Dalit leader with a pan-India appeal. Her projection as the prime ministerial candidate will mobilize the Dalit community in support of the alliance.’
In the same meeting, Mayawati has also removed her own brother, Anand Kumar as the Vice President of the party, in order to suppress the charges of nepotism that were rising against her. Along with that, her trusted aide, Ram Achal Rajbhar, has been promoted as the General Secretary of the party.
But the statement that attracted the most attention was: BSP will make alliances only after attaining a respectable total. Despite the entire hullabaloo, there shall be no pre-poll alliances on the part of BSP for the 2019 elections, which adds substance to the claims of Mayawati being a potential candidate.
This is not the first time that talks of Mayawati being the prime ministerial candidate have cropped up. In 2009, when she was the incumbent chief minister of UP, her sizable clout, almost at the same level as that of Mamata Bannerjee today, had put her in contention for the post of the prime ministerial candidate. Though she lost the elections, a total of 21 Lok Sabha seats was still a historical achievement on her part.
Cut to 2018: Mayawati is nowhere today. She has zero MPs in Parliament, and less than 20 MLAs in UP, a far cry from the absolute majority she once commanded in 2007. Besides, given that she shook hands with the very party that attacked her brutally in a guest house in 1995, has stripped her of the remaining credibility she had among her own people. As such, her projection as PM candidate is the same as Arvind Kejriwal claiming a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections through his party’s internal surveys.
Though the crafty alliance of SP and BSP won the Phulpur and Gorakhpur bypolls, it is very unlikely that this bonhomie would extend any longer. For instance, only recently, when the entire opposition assembled at the swearing in ceremony for Karnataka’s new chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, Mayawati dropped the façade of hostility against the Congress, and warmed up to the top brass, indicating a possible alliance or support for the upcoming legislative assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh etc.
Also, the way she royally snubbed Chaudhary Ajit Singh, head of Rashtriya Lok Dal and a close ally of Samajwadi Party, is something that will certainly not go down well with the latter. Already stung by the drubbing in the previous Rajya Sabha by elections, where a few BSP MLAs defected to vote for BJP, the SP patrons, i.e. Akhilesh Yadav and his coterie will certainly not take this treatment lying down.
If such an incident cannot be averted, how does the opposition even think of bringing Narendra Modi down in 2019 elections? Like Circuit said in Munnabhai MBBS, ‘Bhai, ye to shuru hote hi khatam ho gaya’. Speaking in terms of the current politics, this would simply translate to: The mega alliance of the opposition is set to crash even before it could take off!