Lucknow: On Friday, Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati shared the dais together for the first time after 24 years at a joint rally of the SP-BSP-RLD alliance in the Samajwadi Party’s bastion Mainpuri. Addressing the rally the BSP supremo also urged the voters to ensure Mulayam Singh's victory by record margin from Mainpuri. With more than two decades of animosity behind them, Mulayam Singh and Mayawati were all smiles. Mulayam Singh was seen introducing her to workers and asking them to touch her feet. "We welcome Mayawati ji, I have always respected Mayawatiji," Mulayam Singh told a seat of crimson Samajwadi caps that roared its approval.
The spectacle of the bitter enemies sharing the stage is really the essence of the opposition gathbandhan (alliance) in Uttar Pradesh to take on the BJP in the national election. Calling Mulayam Singh Yadav a leader of the oppressed she said the time is ripe for the Dalits and the backward castes to come together to challenge the BJP. The BSP supremo also attacked PM Narendra Modi and called him "fake". The effort from both parties is to showcase their friendship and ensure the smooth transfer of votes wherever the gathbandhan has fielded joint candidates.
Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati have been bitter rivals since 1995 when SP workers attacked her at Lucknow guest house where she was holding meetings with her supporters. Mayawati, who was BSP founder Kanshi Ram’s close aide, locked herself in the room after SP workers went on the rampage.