Even as the Mahan Dal has failed to win seats in Lok Sabha or assembly polls in the past, it has made its presence felt in central and western parts of Uttar Pradesh, by garnering ample votes in elections. The Congress on Wednesday formed an alliance with the Mahan Dal to fight the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Launched in 2008 by Keshav Dev Maurya, the party enjoys the support of other backward castes (OBC), particularly Mauryas, Kushwahas, Sainis and Shakyas.
The party’s influence can be gauged from the fact that major political parties, including the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BSP) and Congress, had been sending feelers to Maurya for an alliance in the assembly or Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress had contested the 2012 assembly election as well as 2014 Lok Sabha polls in alliance with the Mahan Dal.
In the past, the outfit has fielded candidates on Badaun, Nagina and Etah Lok Sabha seats.
Ahead of the 2017 assembly elections, the SP and the Congress had held talks with Maurya for an alliance. He was even called to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) office in New Delhi to hold talks with Rahul Gandhi. The alliance, however, could not materialise after the Congress strategist told Maurya to merge his party into the Congress. Maurya turned down the proposal stating that he was ready to discuss seat-sharing but not merger. Later, the Congress finalised its alliance with the SP.
Ahead of 2017 assembly elections, he was invited by JD(U) leader and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to discuss formation of a grand alliance of smaller parties in UP.The JD(U), whose relation with the BJP had turned sour during the assembly election, had also invited Peace Party, Apna Dal, Nishad Party, Bahujan Samaj Swabhiman Sangharsh Samiti (BS-4) and Bahujan Mukti Party to join the alliance. The alliance failed to open account as the BJP swept the state.
Talking to HT, Maurya said the Kushwaha, Maurya, Saini and Shakya communities constituted 14% of the OBC vote in the state.
“Votes of these communities are decisive on several seats in west UP. The SP-BSP alliance has little respect for the community and uses it to bag votes. Congress has assured equality to the community and will invite Mahan Dal’s leaders to share dais with top leaders,” he said.
“The Mahan Dal will not field candidates in Lok Sabha election but campaign for the Congress on all 80 seats. Our alliance with the Congress will continue in the 2022 assembly election,” he said.
First Published: Feb 14, 2019 10:25 IST