A day before Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party are likely to announce their alliance for the Lok Sabha elections 2019 in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress said ignoring the party in the politically crucial state could be a "very dangerous mistake". Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the objective of all opposition parties should be to defeat the ruling BJP and eliminate "autocracy, misgovernance" at the Centre.
"I don't think anybody should underestimate the strength, extent and reach and vote share, presence and support of the Congress in a state like Uttar Pradesh.
"We may have fallen on difficult times. But I think to ignore us can prove to be a very dangerous mistake. Since everybody realises that, I think we will have a happy and harmonious solution sometime in the near future," he told reporters when asked about the possible SP-BSP alliance.
"Those who in any manner do not do it will be blamed ultimately by the public, which knows everything. Therefore, it is an obligation on each one of the parties to do so (defeat the BJP)," Singhvi said.
Singhvi’s comments came hours after the media on Friday received an invite from Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav for a joint press conference in Lucknow. In the election year, two party chiefs coming together for a joint presser translates into an announcement for an alliance. Scheduled to be held at Lucknow’s Taj Hotel, the SP and BSP chiefs are likely to declare the seat-sharing formula for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on Saturday. There are reports that split with the Congress is imminent, at least in Uttar Pradesh. This is not good news for either Congress or ruling BJP as both the SP and the BSP have a good presence in the state. Confirming the news, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh said that, "Yes, I am part of the Mahagathbandhan." However, he said that he has no information about the Lucknow press conference.
The formidable alliance will impact the poll mandate. It will especially hit the BJP as the saffron party had won 71 out of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 General Elections. The importance of this alliance can be gauged from the fact that during the debate for the Forward Quota Bill in Parliament, several Opposition parties had alleged that the Narendra Modi government brought the Bill because it was afraid of the impact SP and BSP will cause in Uttar Pradesh.
On January 6, Akhilesh Yadav had indicated about the alliance announcement later in the week. Earlier, statements made by Mayawati and Akhilesh have hinted that both the parties are not too keen to cede space to the Congress in the seat-sharing deal in Uttar Pradesh. Yadav had met BSP chief in New Delhi on January 3 to finalise the contours of the seat sharing agreement ahead of the general elections.