New Delhi: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav would be addressing a joint press briefing in Lucknow on Saturday.
The two leaders are likely to announce the pre-poll arrangement that they had agreed to last weekend. SP national secretary Rajendra Chaudhary and BSP’s national general secretary SC Misra made the announcement on Friday.
Yadav had told the media, “You will come to know about it (alliance) in a week or so” on being asked about their ‘gathbandhan’ in Uttar Pradesh.
Speculations have also been rife about the inclusion of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in the gathbandhan. RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary met Yadav recently but he refused to divulge the agenda of the meeting though media reports suggested that he had sought five seats. With both the BSP and the SP reportedly planning to fight the elections from 37 seats each, that leaves six seats free and if the RLD takes its five, only one seat will be left for someone else to pitch for.
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.”
Where the Congress figures in all of this is still shrouded in a cloud of uncertainty. However, both the SP and the BSP haven’t yet cosied up to the grand old party.
Neither of the party chiefs attended the swearing-in ceremonies of Congress Chief Ministers in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh last month.
Mayawati had openly criticised the Congress before declaring that her party would not tie up with the party for the recently concluded Assembly elections.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attacked the two parties for coming together. Speaking in Agra a couple of days ago, PM Modi said the parties which opposed each other were forming an alliance just to take on the BJP.
“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,” he said, without naming the two parties.
He also mocked their bid to stitch together an anti-BJP alliance, while recalling the 1995 state guest house incident in Lucknow in which BSP chief Mayawati was reportedly targeted by SP workers.