Akhilesh's 'Maya PM' strategy to checkmate BJP in UP

 Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav. PTI file photo

As the polling moves to its last two phases, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav and her alliance partner and BSP supremo Mayawati have changed their electoral strategy to ensure smooth transfer of votes to each other in the 'Muslim-Yadav-SC' dominated eastern Uttar Pradesh. 
Akhilesh, who was earlier evasive on his preference for the post of prime minister, has indicated that he will be ''happy'' if Mayawati occupies the top post after the general elections. He also hinted that in turn Mayawati may support him for the post of chief minister of UP.
Incidentally, Akhilesh has made it clear that he is not in the race for the post of PM. 
Mayawati too dropped hints that she was ready to take on the mantle. Addressing an election in Ambedkar Nagar Lok Sabha constituency a few days back, Mayawati said that she might have to contest election from there if such a need arose. 
According to the SP leaders here, the sudden change of strategy was to convey the message to his core vote bank that he could be the CM while Mayawati could shift to the national politics.
''The new electoral strategy is aimed at ensuring a smooth transfer of votes to the candidates of the mahagathbandhan on all the 27 Lok Sabha seats in eastern UP going to the polls in the last two phases of polling,'' said a senior SP leader here.
He also said that the strategy would ''checkmate'' prime minister Narendra Modi's attempts to drive a wedge between the SP and BSP and ''confuse'' their supporters. Modi had recently, at an election rally, referred to Mayawati as 'bahenji' (sister) and said that she had been ''tricked'' by Akhilesh and Congress. 
On a majority of seats going to the polls in the last two phases, the 'Muslims-Yadavs and SCs' were in sizable strength and their support could tilt the scale in favour of the grand alliance. ''BJP, which had secured SC votes in 2014, wants to make a dent in the same again this time,'' said a BSP leader here.
In 2014, BJP had won 26 of the 27 seats losing only the Azamgarh seat to the SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav. The saffron party is facing a stiff challenge from the grand alliance this time. 

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