The voters realised the high level of cynical opportunism that marked the SP-BSP alliance in UP. This has been confirmed by the post-election fallout between the two parties, even though the top leaders, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawat are attempting to put a brave, and polite, face on it. Both parties were banking on the transferability of each other’s votes, and when this did not entirely happen, not much time has been wasted on going their own ways – particularly by Mayawati, who succeeded in resurrecting her party courtesy the SP.
The unpalatable truth is that, had there not been an alliance, the BSP would likely not have gone much above its earlier score of zero, and the SP would have done even worse than it actually did. But so great was the arrogance of Akhilesh and Mayawati and so high their expectations, that they are not being able to digest the truth. Most intellectuals, in their pre-poll analyses, had given greater credit to the force of the alliance, but the people did not oblige. One can only imagine what kind of political games they would have played had they been in a position to be king-makers at the Centre. This is why the voters consciously decided not to put power into the hands of such proven fickle leaders.
There may not have been transferability of votes to the extent they wanted, but they should have known the temperament of their voters. Mayawati’s voters give first preference to the BSP, but their second preference has, for a long time, been the BJP. Out of loyalty and on being asked, some will have voted for SP candidates, but quite obviously many didn’t. In the case of SP voters, the second preference would largely be the Congress, and voting BSP was against this tendency. And, anyway, the thrust was on not dividing Muslim votes. That the combined vote of the alliance was enough to bring the BSP up from zero to ten indicates there was potential for future cooperation, but the lesson has not been learned by the respective leaders. Even the SP should consider what would have happened if it had not received even a part of the BSP votes.
Now the two parties wish to go their own ways and will test their respective strengths in the coming elections for the eleven vacated assembly seats. Even though they had the opportunity to influence events unitedly, they will now again test the waters to see where they stand with the people. They should not expect a very positive verdict when they have repeatedly failed to learn the necessary lessons.