In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the alliance between the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Lok Dal won only 15 out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh. Yesterday, Mayawati announced that her party would split from the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP to independently fight the upcoming assembly bypolls in the state. “If we feel in future that SP chief succeeds in his political work, we’ll again work together,” she said.
Mayawati has served as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh four times, and the SP has been the most formidable political rival to her party. In the following excerpt from “Everybody’s Brother,” a profile of Yadav published in The Caravan’s September 2015 issue, the journalist Neha Dixit reported how countering Mayawati helped the SP heir stake his claim to power in the party, and later become the state’s chief minister.
Yadav first made his mark as a popular leader in 2008, when he led statewide student protests against the Mayawati regime, ensuring that he would be the obvious candidate for a fresh face when the beleaguered Samajwadi Party began to look for new representatives. His yen for technological solutions, and image as the clean young politician who enjoys the support of Uttar Pradesh’s youth, continues to sustain his reputation to some extent.