Unity in defeat: SP-BSP ties after Rajya Sabha polls

Elections to the Rajya Sabha would have been dull, predictable affairs if not for stories of intrigue and betrayal. In this round of biennial elections to the Upper House of Parliament, the element of drama was provided by the 10th seat from Uttar Pradesh, eventually won by the Bharatiya Janata Party over the Bahujan Samaj Party through a combination of cross-voting and last-minute switch of loyalties. BSP legislator Anil Kumar Singh was open about his rebellion, and his support for the BJP candidate. Independent member Raghuraj Pratap Singh, who is close to the SP, helped the BJP’s cause too. The battle for the 10th seat, which the BJP could not have won on its own, supposedly held long-term implications for the political churn that U.P. is now witnessing. The BJP saw it as a test of the new bonding between the SP and the BSP, which won for the SP two Lok Sabha by-elections recently. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath sought to paint the result less as a satisfying win for his party and more as a disturbing result for the BSP, saying the SP took votes from others but did not return them. More than getting an additional seat, the BJP was hoping that the outcome would sow the seeds of distrust between the SP and the BSP. Although clearly unhappy with the defeat, BSP leader Mayawati was unwilling to let it jeopardise the nascent understanding with the SP, and said the loss would not affect her party’s growing proximity to the SP. Indeed, she saw it as a consequence of what she claimed was the BJP’s strategy to drive a wedge between the two parties. Instead of driving them apart, the result seems to have brought the SP and the BSP closer.

Despite its success in the polls in U.P., the BJP is no closer to undermining the opposition in the Rajya Sabha. The Telugu Desam Party has quickly made the transition from a disenchanted ally to a fierce opponent. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti, even while trying to maintain good equations between its government and the Centre, is working towards a federal front opposed to both the Congress and the BJP. The 29 seats (out of 58) that the BJP won in this round will not alter the balance in the Rajya Sabha, at least not immediately. If in U.P. the election brought two opposition parties closer, in West Bengal it created more differences between the Left and the Congress. The Trinamool Congress’s support may have been for Abhishek Manu Singhvi as an individual, and not for his party, the Congress, but the net effect was that the Left was unhappy with the Congress and its candidate. The elections to the Rajya Sabha are not a reflection of the strengths of the parties on the ground, but they can alter political equations and have a bearing on direct elections in the near future.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 3:13:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/unity-in-defeat/article23349814.ece

Next Story