24 years after alleged bid to attack BSP chief Mayawati at guesthouse, she and SP seemed to have buried their differences.
Lucknow: On Saturday afternoon, as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP) joined hands, their chiefs claimed to have buried a 24-year-old rivalry. An incident in a Lucknow guesthouse in June 1995 had been behind the hostility between leaders of the parties over two decades.
The infamous Lucknow guest house episode, which BSP chief Mayawati considered as a personal attack on her on 2 June 1995, had marked the end of the alliance forged by SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP founder Kanshi Ram.
Around two years since the SP and the BSP had first formed the UP government in 1993 with Mulayam Singh Yadav as the Chief Minister, cracks had appeared in the coalition. Amid turmoil in the alliance, Kanshi Ram is believed to have brokered a deal with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which led to Mayawati pulling support of her party and the collapse of the BSP-SP government.
In the hours that followed this announcement, a group of angry SP supporters gathered at the state guesthouse on Meerabai Road, Lucknow where Mayawati was meeting her party MLAs. Mayawati had allegedly been locked inside a room at the guest house while a mob tried to break into the room and allegedly attack her. It was late into the night on 2 June that she managed to escape with the help of BJP MLA BD Dwivedi.
It was in the aftermath of this episode that the BSP, with the BJP’s support, formed a government in UP and Mayawati became the CM for the first time at the age of 39.
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On various occasions in the past two decades, the incident has been invoked as one where an alleged SP mob had hurled casteist and sexist abuses at Mayawati and allegedly threatened to kill her. The BJP, too, had reminded her of the incident as the SP-BSP were forging an alliance but Mayawati had countered them by stating that Akhilesh had not been involved in the incident.
On Saturday afternoon, nearly 24 years later, Mayawati claimed to have moved past the incident.
“We have decided to come together by putting national interest above the Lucknow guest house incident,” Mayawati said.
Lending support to her, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav also sent a strong message to his party members.
“I am grateful to Mayawati ji for respecting us and agreeing to an equal allocation of seats. I want you to remember that any disrespect to Mayawati ji will be a personal insult to me,” he said.