Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Saturday announced their alliance sans Congress for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. In a joint press conference with Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow, Mayawati announced that SP and BSP will contest 38 seats each in the state that sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha. Although the SP-BSP alliance will not field their candidates against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi and Sonia Gandhi in Rae Bareli, they kept the Congress party out of their coalition. Speaking about leaving the Congress out of their fold, Mayawati said that there was no real gain in allying with Grand Old Party as its vote wasn’t transferable.
“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,” Mayawati said, adding that they are leaving two seats for the Congress party without including them in the grand coalition.
The remaining two seats will be given to other allies. However, Mayawati didn't specify whether the two more remaining seats will be given to Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD). Singh had Friday claimed that he is also a part of the SP-BSP-led grand alliance in Uttar Pradesh.
This is not the first time the two parties have come together. Nearly 26 years ago in 1993, the Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram had fought the elections together. However, their government could not last long and crashed after growing differences between them.
Reacting to the SP-BSP alliance, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that nobody should make the “dangerous mistake” to ignore the Grand Old Party even if the party was going through the tough phase.
“Nobody should underestimate the Congress with its reach, presence and support base in Uttar Pradesh. Congress is an established party in the state... We may have fallen in difficult times but ignoring us will be a dangerous mistake," Singhvi said.
The BJP, on the other hand, said that the SP and the BSP came together to take on Modi as they can’t fight him alone. “The SP and BSP have allied neither for the country nor for Uttar Pradesh. But for their survival. They know they cannot fight (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi on their own and their opposition to him is the sole base of their alliance,” senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.