New Delhi: Striking a big blow to the Congress’ prospect of forging a grand alliance to take on the BJP, the Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Left have decided to contest the upcoming Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh later this year, reported News 18.

The report further cited sources saying that the Congress will go solo in the elections in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

The development comes after BSP supremo Mayawati, in a series of blows to the Grand Old Party, first announced a tie-up with Congress rebel Ajit Jogi in Chhattisgarh and then unilaterally declared the first list of 22 candidates in Madhya Pradesh.

On Sunday, the Congress had said that the party was still hopeful of an alliance with the BSP.

“We are in talks with the BSP and Samajwadi Party. I am hopeful that ‘bua’ (aunt-referring to Mayawati) and ‘bhatija’ (nephew- referring to Akhilesh Yadav) will help the Congress defeat the BJP,” MP Congress chief Kamal Nath said Sunday.

“Our first priority is to stop the fragmentation of anti-BJP votes to ensure its defeat,” Nath told reporters.

According to another Congress leader, the BSP wants 25 seats in the alliance while the former is ready to give Mayawati’s party 15 seats.

The BSP currently has four MLAs in the 230-member MP Assembly.

Political experts believe that developments in the three poll-bound states would make it difficult for the Congress to form a grand anti-BJP alliance for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and have also forecasted of a third front of non-BJP, non-Congress parties.