Yesterday, it was Mukhtar Ansari’s Quami Ekta Dal.
Today, it is BSP’s Swami Prasad Maurya.
Quami Ekta Dal doesn’t exist anymore. Swami Prasad Maurya is not in BSP anymore.
In and out of BSP, Mukhtar Ansari formed his own political outfit Quami Ekta Dal in 2010 after he was ousted from BSP. He is in Agra Central Jail for the murder of BJP leader Krishnanad Rai. He had almost won the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from Varanasi. BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi could win only with a thin margin of 17000 votes. He is a dreaded gangster-turned politician.
Yesterday his political party of 2 MLAs, QED, merged with SP.
Going by the reputation that CM Akhilesh Yadav had built by saying no to another gangster-turned politician DP Yadav before the 2012 assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, it was least expected, if not totally unexpected.
But it has happened, even if a miffed Akhilesh has expelled the leader behind this merger, Balram Yadav, from the party – even if it contradicts personal projections of Akhilesh Yadav – only months before the next assembly polls.
And today when senior SP leaders including Azam Khan and Shivpal Yadav praised Swami Prasad Maurya after his exit from BSP, it became clear that the realization has dawned in the party that all is not well and it is facing a bleak future.
Maurya’s act, fueled by SP overtures, is another testimony to the fact that SP is staring at the possibility of an electoral defeat in the assembly polls next year after surveys have stated projecting a BSP win – given the high anti-incumbency against the Akhilesh Yadav government and the worsening law and order situation in UP.
Seeing this, senior leaders and old monks of SP have started coming together to try everything else – other than development – setting caste and community equations before all – something that has long been a hallmark of SP politics (and UP politics) – to appeasement votebanks.
Mukhtar Ansari has been taken in for the minority (Muslim) votebank. Swami Prasad Maurya, the Leader of Opposition in the UP assembly till today, is seen as an influential OBC leader. Another influential OBC (Kurmi caste) leader and a party hopper, Beni Prasad Verma, is already back in SP fold and has been rewarded with a Rajya Sabha seat.
And it seems just the beginning. To set caste equations straight, SP may go scouting for parties and leaders with influence in different votebanks, irrespective of their political history and criminal background.
Or Akhilesh Yadav is going to do some more ‘no to DP Yadav’ acts like the last time?