Lucknow: In what could be a roadblock to the ‘Mahagathbandhan‘ for Lok Sabha elections, Opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh are likely to make a big announcement on Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati’s birthday in January. Sources told Zee News that the parties have already chalked out an alliance for the coming Lok Sabha elections. They said that the Congress would not be a part of the ‘gathbandhan’. (Also read: JD(U) Breaks Silence on Joining Grand Alliance, Asks Cong to Clear Stand on RJD First)
They said that the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) agreed on an equal share in seats. Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) would also be a part of the alliance, said the sources.
They said RLD could get three seats and the announcement could be made on Mayawati’s birthday on January 15.
However, the development could be a blow to the grand ‘mahagathbandhan’ plans of the Congress. A while ago, Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar had said his party was “optimistic” of a grand alliance in the state for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He told PTI the people wanted the Opposition to contest the general elections in Uttar Pradesh together.
“In the current scenario, irrespective of the party and pressures they might be having from their voters, we have to unitedly contest the Lok Sabha polls,” he said. “In the Lok Sabha elections in UP, I’m optimistic of a grand alliance…Lok Sabha elections are at the national level and there are only two forces. I’m not saying that there are only two parties but there are only two ideologies. One is of Gandhiji on which the Congress runs and other is of the RSS which is in search of credibility,” he said.
On being asked to comment on open criticism of the Congress by BSP chief Mayawati on petrol and diesel prices and other issues, Babbar said, “The BSP is a party, it might have an opinion. It also ran the government in the state. If the state government wants, it can reduce petrol/diesel prices.”
Mayawati had held both the previous UPA government and the BJP responsible for the rise in petrol and diesel prices, taking the Congress by surprise. The party steered clear of the Congress in the recently concluded Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. But it offered support, albeit reluctantly when the Congress stopped short of the majority by one seat in Rajasthan and by two seats in Madhya Pradesh.
Mayawati admitted that her party was extending its support “with a heavy heart”. Lately, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has also spoken out against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s candidature as the Mahagathbandhan’s PM candidate.
The two leaders did not attend the swearing-in ceremonies of Congress Chief Ministers. They also skipped a Mahagathbandhan meeting in Delhi recently.