New Delhi: Once-arch rivals Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) announced on Saturday their tie-up in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, sharing 38 seats each and keeping the Congress out of the alliance.
The parties, however, said they would not field candidates in Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. They also left two seats, out of 80, for smaller allies.
Making the announcement at a joint press conference with SP president Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow, BSP chief Mayawati said, “This…will rob ‘guru-chela’ – Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah – of their sleep.”
“I have full confidence that just as our alliance defeated the BJP in the Lok Sabha bypolls, we will crush the saffron party in the general elections,” she said, referring to the BJP’s defeat in Phulpur, Gorakhpur and Kairana parliamentary bypolls.
Explaining why the Congress was not included in the alliance, she said that during the Congress rule over the years, poverty, unemployment and corruption grew and there had been scams in various defence deals.
She also said that in case of a tie-up with the Congress in the past, the party did not benefit.
“In the past I have seen that our votes get transferred to the Congress, but not vice-versa. We do not gain from alliance with Congress, whereas vote transfer is perfect in SP-BSP tie-up,” Mayawati said.
Drawing a parallel between the BJP and the Congress, Mayawati said the Congress had imposed the Emergency while the BJP is responsible for an undeclared Emergency.
According to ANI, when asked if he would support Mayawati as PM, Akhilesh said, “You know who is my choice. Uttar Pradesh has given prime ministers in the past and trend will be repeated again.”
“I would like to thank Mayawati for an equitable alliance. This is an end to BJP misrule,” the SP chief said.
The joint press conference was held at a hotel after top leadership of both parties had met in New Delhi recently to discuss broad parameters of the alliance to take on the BJP together in the Lok Sabha elections.
In 2014, the BJP had won 71 seats in Uttar Pradesh while its ally Apna Dal bagged two. The Samajwadi Party won 5 seats and the Congress two, while the BSP drew a blank.
Reacting to the development, senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The SP and BSP have allied neither for the country nor for Uttar Pradesh, but for their survival. They know they cannot fight Modi on their own and their opposition to him is the sole base of their alliance.”
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee welcomed the alliance.
I welcome the alliance of the SP and the BSP for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) January 12, 2019
(With PTI inputs)