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BSP had entered into a pre-poll alliance with JD(S) and contested 20 seats in Karnataka. Mayawati, in fact, addressed four rallies jointly with JD(S) leaders during the campaign. Though BSP vote share dipped from 1.16% in 2013 Karnataka elections to 0.3%, it still managed to win one seat, its first in the state. BSP insiders said that Mayawati asked her close aide and party Rajya Sabha MP Ashok Siddharth, who is also Karnataka BSP in charge, to meet Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad as soon as projections showed a hung assembly with no party in a position to form government on its own.
While Azad then spoke to Sonia about the prospective alliance, Mayawati called up JD(S) chief HD Devegowda and convinced him. Mayawati, sources said, subsequently spoke to Sonia and suggested that Congress extend support to JD(S) to which she agreed.
“We contested against the BJP as well as Congress. But we have to keep communal forces at bay. Not staking claim to form government before BJP would have sent a wrong message to our supporters in state and beyond,” said a senior BSP leader camping in Karnataka.
Mayawati had earlier bailed out Congress government in Uttarakhand in 2016 and its two MLAs voted for it in the floor test following disqualification of its nine MLAs who defected to BJP camp.
Political experts said that by aligning with Congress to stop BJP, Mayawati seeks to boost ‘opposition unity’ before 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The move, experts said, would help her in consolidating core Dalit vote bank and woo Muslims, especially in UP, where her party was decimated in 2014 elections and then 2017 assembly elections.