Earlier this year, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati had withdrawn a case from the Supreme Court against Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav. The case was of an assault against her, which dates back to 1995.
It was this shameful incident of violence against a Dalit woman leader which turned SP and BSP into bitter rivals.
The fact that Mayawati had withdrawn the case earlier this year has come to light now, five months after the BSP supremo called off the ties and alliance with the old friend and rival party, and was not made public.
News 18 says in its report: "A source said that the decision by BSP supremo was taken as a goodwill gesture on the request of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav. However, it was not made public then."
To understand this, let's go back to the case.
The BJP happened to be the outsider catalyst for the build-up that led to incidents that eventually resulted in the SP-BSP friendship, and then, their violence-ridden bitterness in 1995. The BJP happens to be the outsider catalyst even in the withdrawal of the case in 2019. For 10 years, between 2007 and 2017, the SP and BSP remained at time-toughened loggerheads.
The watermark year is 1993 — when BJP was at its peak — after the Ramjanmabhoomi movement. The saffron wave was strong, and SP and BSP, much as they were, in 2018 and 2019, were restless to dent the BJP's strong progression.
In June 1995, tables turned. The BSP withdrew its support from the government. Yadav was left alone in the assembly — as minority. Efforts towards reconciliation were made but fell flat.
The venue of action turned to Meerabai Guest House in Lucknow. Mayawati was staying here. Men from SP entered the guest house and attacked her.
An article published in Swarajya says, "accounts say she was beaten up and her room vandalised; sexual and casteist slurs were also hurled at her." There was a man who landed to help Mayawati. He was BJP MLA, Brahm Dutt Dwivedi.
Here is an account from Sunil Dutt Dwivedi, son of late Brahm Dutt Dwivedi, from the Swarajya article:
Dwivedi stood as a wall between the goondas and Mayawati. As he was a ‘Sangh Sevak’, Dwivedi knew how to fight with a ‘lathi’ (baton). He fought with the attackers who were armed with lethal weapons. Later, as Mayawati’s clothes were torn, Brahm Dutt Dwivedi offered his shawl to the now BSP supremo. “It was only a matchstick which could have killed Mayawati as SP goons laid down gas cylinder pipes in the room,” says Dwivedi.
Interestingly, the revelation, that Mayawati had withdrawn the case, comes a few days before the Ramjanmabhoomi verdict.
The SP-BSP alliance was stitched in January this year. By March, in Uttar Pradesh the two parties and their supporters were beginning to expect a great show in the Lok Sabha polls. The alliance did manage to dent BJP's prospects in western Uttar Pradesh. However, it could not manage to perform in other parts of the state.
In June, Mayawati announced that BSP was breaking its alliance with SP, but the break would not be permanent.
Later in June, she raised the offensive against SP, saying that it was Mulayam Singh Yadav, who, other than the BJP, played a role in “trying to frame" her in the Taj Corridor case. In June, she blamed Akhilesh Yadav for the debacle faced by their alliance in the Lok Sabha polls.
Both parties — in their own arenas — are now making efforts to reach out to Muslim voters.