Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati on Saturday announced their alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. Both Akhilesh’s SP and Mayawati’s BSP will contest 38 seats each. Addressing a joint press conference with Mayawati in Lucknow, Akhilesh Yadav said that the alliance was necessary to defeat the arrogant BJP and rid the state from the saffron party's "religion and caste politics".
"We have come together to rid the state and country of BJP’s religion and caste politics. This alliance was a must to destroy BJP, to defeat their arrogance. BJP can go to any extent to create differences in our workers, we must be united and counter any such tactic,” Akhilesh Yadav.
He further said the SP and the BSP are now together and any insult to Mayawati will be his also. “I want to say to BJP that they should know that we (SP-BSP) are in this together. I am grateful to Mayawati for giving me equal status. They should know any insult to Mayawati is my insult,” he said.
Speaking about shutting the alliance door for the Congress, Mayawati said that they have decided to leave the Congress out of the SP-BSP fold since there was no real gain by allying with the Grand Old Party as its vote is not transferrable. However, she said, two Lok Sabha seats – Rahul Gandhi’s Amethi and Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli – have been left for the Congress party.
"We won't gain anything by including Congress in our alliance. Both BSP and SP have experienced in the past that Congress's vote is not transferrable," the BSP chief said adding that the SP-BSP alliance will give sleepless nights to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
The BSP supremo said that there was not much difference between the Congress and the BJP and their policies are same. “It is because of the policies of the Congress that parties like ours came into existence. Whether it is the Congress or the BJP that comes to power, it's the same thing,” she said.
This is not the first time the two parties have joined hands but the alliance of SP-BSP, once the sworn enemies, came together 26 years after then Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram tied up in 1993. However, their acrimonious alliance could not last long and their government in Uttar Pradesh collapsed.
Political experts believe the SP-BSP alliance may prove a blow to the BJP's aspirations of repeating its 2014 performance when they won 71 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. In 2014, the SP had won five seats while Mayawati's BSP could not even open its account.