A newspaper clipping featuring a statement by BSP chief Mayawati is viral on social media. The headline reads, “Rebel MLAs suspended, Maya says SP must be defeated, even if it means voting for BJP.” The report is regarding the suspension of seven rebel MLAs who opposed the nomination of Bahujan Samajwadi Party candidate Ramji Gautam during the 2020 Rajya Sabha elections. It is being shared in connection with the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

The image was also tweeted by the National General Secretary of Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party, Arun Rajbhar. He wrote that the BJP and BSP are one and the same. It is worth noting that the Samajwadi Party and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party had earlier formed an alliance. Currently, it is supporting SP and Akhilesh Yadav.

A similar claim featured in a second newspaper clipping is circulating widely on Facebook.

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Meanwhile, a screenshot of a Zee News Uttar Pradesh/Uttarakhand broadcast promoting the claim is also widespread on social media. In the screengrab, Mayawati is quoted as saying “We will support BJP if we need to”. “BSP’s rebel MLAs” is also mentioned at the bottom of the screen.

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Old statement misrepresented

We conducted a keyword search with the words used in the statement attributed to Mayawati. This led us to a few reports from October 2020. On October 29, 2020, Live Hindustan reported that Mayawati had ousted seven rebel MLAs from her party ahead of the UP assembly polls. They were removed for opposing the legislative assembly candidate fielded by the party. The article states, “In a press conference, BSP chief Mayawati said that the BSP was trying its level best to defeat SP. Even if it meant voting for candidates from any of the other parties including the BJP.”

ABP Live also covered the alleged statement by Mayawati.

The statement drew a lot of flak. Mayawati released another statement to clarify what she had meant. Dainik Bhaskar reported that speaking at a press conference, BSP chief Mayawati insisted she would not be retiring from politics. She alleged that SP-Congress were spreading rumours about a BJP-BSP alliance so that the BSP would lose the Muslim vote. It reads further, “The BSP will not form an alliance with the BJP under any circumstance.” Mayawati added that the two parties’ ideologies were not aligned.

There have been no reports of any BSP-BJP alliance for 2022 assembly polls as of this writing. To sum it up, an old statement of Mayawati’s was falsely circulated as recent in connection with the upcoming UP assembly elections.

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