After OBCs, Akhilesh now eyes Mayawati's vote bank

After OBCs, Akhilesh now eyes Mayawati's vote bank; may ally with Bheem Army founder

BSP leaders here also admitted that Chandrashekhar poses a 'serious threat' to their party

Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati (R) with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav. Credit: PTI File Photo

After consolidating his tie-ups with several smaller outfits which have influence over 'non-Yadav' OBC voters, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav has now set his eyes on the 'Jatav' (SC) vote bank of BSP supremo Mayawati and has initiated talks with Dalit leader and Bheem Army founder Chandrashekhar alias Ravan.

Chandrashekhar, whose outfit wielded considerable over the Dalit voters, particularly in western Uttar Pradesh districts including Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahar and some others, had an hour-long discussion with Akhilesh at the latter's office here on Sunday.

Later speaking to reporters, Chandrashekhar said that he would contest the forthcoming Assembly polls against UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath. "I will contest against Yogi Adityanath....this government is anti-Dalit," he added.

He also said that the issue of an alliance had come for discussion during his talks with Akhilesh but nothing was finalised as yet. "We have a common enemy in BJP...we discussed strategy to defeat the BJP in the forthcoming polls...the issue of alliance was discussed," he added.

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Chandrashekhar's outfit had set the alarm bells ringing in the BSP camp after its nominee on one of the seven Assembly seats which had gone to bypolls in Uttar Pradesh last year, had spoiled the party's prospects on the seat. The lone candidate of Chandrashekhar's outfit Azad Samaj Party (Kanshiram) from Bulandshahr Assembly seat surprised everyone by bagging more than 13,500 votes, severely denting the BSP nominee's electoral prospects.

The Azad Samaj Party (ASP) nominee finished third, pushing the Congress nominee to fourth place. The BSP candidate had finished second. The seat was won by BJP by over 21,000 votes.

BSP leaders here also admitted that Chandrashekhar poses a "serious threat" to their party. "Chandrashkehar's emergence may seriously impact our electoral prospects in the western UP region," said a senior BSP leader. Chandrashekhar has been attacking Mayawati saying that she has not been able to protect the interests of the Dalits.

Political analysts feel that an alliance with Chandrashekhar's outfit will certainly benefit the SP in the western region. "Chandrashekhar has proved that he has the capability to dent BSP's vote bank....any diversion of the Dalit votes toward the SP will be a bonus for Akhilesh," said a Lucknow-based analyst. 

Akhilesh has already sealed an alliance with Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP), a 'Rajbhar' outfit, Mahan Dal (OBC outfit), Apna Dal (K), a 'Kurmi' outfit and a few other parties.

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