A sea of ‘red’ and ‘blue’ cap in Mainpuri is about ‘Atoot Rishta’

MAINPURI: Putting aside historical grievances of their shared past, once arch-rivals, Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati shared a stage on Friday at a joint rally of the SP-BSP-RLD alliance in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri.

Supporters and activists sporting the blue and red caps of the parties were seen moving around together which shows that they shun their differences to work for the victory of the alliance in the state.

The enthusiastic activists from both of the parties believe that the alliance will be instrumental to remove Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the helm of the next Central government.

One Dharamveer Yadav, a 55-year-old farmer from Mainpuri, sporting an SP flag over his shoulder told The Indian Express that the alliance was required to defeat the BJP. “Becoming friends with someone who helps you in a time of need is fine. This alliance was necessary to defeat the BJP,” he said.

This is the first time since the infamous 1995 Guest House episode that the two arch-rivals will be on one stage. It has been almost two and a half decades since the SP patriarch shared the stage with the Bahujan Nayak or Saheb Kanshi Ram.

When the SP-BSP stitched its new alliance ahead of the seven-phased Lok Sabha polls, Mayawati had made it clear that she has set aside the guest house episode for “the country and people”. Earlier in the day, Mayawati had said Mulayam is the only “real” backward community leader in the country and not a ‘fake OBC’ leader like Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The SP stalwart returned the favour saying that the BSP chief supported him whenever he was in need. “Agar Behenji Ne Bhula Diya, Toh Hum Kaun Hote Hain (If Behenji has forgotten, who are we to hold on to the grudge).”

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Mulayam said, “I am very pleased that respected Mayawati Ji has come here to seek votes for me. I will never forget this favour.”

“I urge you to give her huge respect because she supported me whenever I was in need,” the SP stalwart told the cheering crowd.

“I want to tell you that we will have to be on the same stage,” Mulayam urged the foe-turned-friend Mayawati.

Mulayam Singh and Mayawati have not seen eye-to-eye ever since an alliance between their parties came to a sordid end in 1995 when Samajwadi Party workers allegedly attacked a state guest house where the BSP chief was camping with her supporters.

The immediate provocation was Mayawati’s decision to withdraw from the government and join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

While the BJP often refers to the 1995 incident to describe the tie-up as “impractical”, both Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati have asked their respective party workers to set aside their differences.

Despite all this, Mulayam Singh, who is said to be not in best of health, had delivered a shocker earlier this year when he in the Lok Sabha said PM Modi should emerge victorious in the general elections.

As the leaders leave in their helicopters, a group of SP and BSP workers headed to the exit saying that, “Yeh lag toh raha tha ki atoot rishta hai. Aaj yakeen ho gaya (It seemed like an unbreakable bond, today, we are confident that it is).

With agencies inputs