New Delhi: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav are expected to announce their alliance for 2019 Lok Sabha elections in a joint press conference on Saturday. Reports claimed that the announcement will be made at noon on January 12 at Lucknow’s Taj hotel.  For 2017 Assembly elections, Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav had held a joint press conference at the same venue to announce an alliance between the Congress and the SP. While parrying questions on the Congress, Yadav, in an interview to a news channel, confirmed that the press conference is on the alliance in Uttar Pradesh.

Smaller parties like the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) and the Nishad Party are also likely to be part of the alliance. Speaking to PTI, RLD’s state unit president Masood Ahmed said that the party national vice president Jayant Chaudhary will be in the state capital Saturday and, if invited, could be a part of the joint press conference. Reports claimed that the RLD has demanded six Lok Sabha seats (Baghpat, Mathura, Muzaffarnagar, Hathras, Amroha and Kairana ) in any seat-sharing agreement.

On Wednesday, Chaudhary met Akhilesh in Lucknow and held political discussions for over an hour, but both sides had declined to share details. “We have discussed about present politics and future course of action and also about BJP’s failures,” Chaudhary had said.

Speaking to ANI, RLD President Ajit Singh said, “We are a part of the grand alliance, we haven’t discussed seats yet. Mayawati Ji and Akhilesh Ji will decide whether there will be an alliance with Congress or not.”

Meanwhile, BJP president Amit Shah mocked the ‘bua-bhatija‘ alliance of the parties led by Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati. Speaking at party’s convention in the national capital on Friday, Shah stated, “They (Mayawati and Akhilesh)could not stand each other but have now joined hands due to the fear of the BJP.”

He claimed that the BJP is on its way to win more than 50 per cent votes in Uttar Pradesh, asserting the saffron alliance’s tally will improve from the 73 Lok Sabha seats it won in 2014 out of the state’s 80.

A couple of days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also attacked the two parties for coming together. Launching an indirect attack on BSP-SP, PM Modi, while speaking in Agra had said, “Rivals are coming together just to oppose us. Political rivals who did not even like to look at each other are now coming together just to oppose us.”

The top leadership of the SP and the BSP recently met in Delhi to discuss the broad parameters of an alliance to take on the BJP in the upcoming parliamentary elections just months away. Earlier on January 4, media reports had claimed that both the parties have decided on an equal seat-sharing formula in the crucial state. The SP-BSP would field candidates from 37 seats each, leaving just six seats for the other players of the alliance, including the Congress.

Notably, Uttar Pradesh has 80 Lok Sabha seats, the highest for any state. In 2014, of the total 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state, the BJP and its ally Apna Dal (S) won 73 while the SP had bagged 5 and the Congress two.