1995 Guest House Scandal: A Thorn in The Flesh of SP-BSP Alliance
When the Ram Janmabhoomi movement was at its peak, the coalition between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was able to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from winning Uttar Pradesh elections in 1993.
However, the SP-BSP alliance lasted only for two years, resulting in the fall of the Mulayam Singh government in 1995. The break-up of the Mulayam-Kanshi Ram government resulted in one of the most grim chapters of Uttar Pradesh politics, infamously known as the ‘guest house scandal’.
On 2 June 1995, the combined anger of SP workers after the BSP’s announcement to withdraw from the coalition resulted in chaos at Lucknow’s Meerabai Guest House. The incident is considered one of the biggest deal-breakers between Mayawati and Mulayam.
An unruly mob of SP workers marched into the Meerabai Guest House in Lucknow, where Mayawati was in a meeting with her MLAs.
According to reports, her room was vandalised, casteist and sexual slurs were thrown about, and she was beaten up. The BSP MLAs present in the room failed to protect her.
Eventually, BJP MLA Brahm Dutt Dwivedi stepped into the room and escorted Mayawati to safety.
After the ‘humiliating’ guest house episode, Mayawati went on to form the government with the BJP’s help.
Fast forward 23 years, the SP-BSP alliance was successful in defeating the BJP again, this time in Gorakhpur and Phulpur bypolls. With the grapevine suggesting that the BSP chief is mulling an alliance with the SP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, would she let go of the guest house incident for their collective goal of stopping the BJP?
As it stands right now, probably not.
(This article was originally published in Hindi Quint. It has been translated from Hindi by Mariam Shaheen.)