New Delhi: In what came as a major blow to the Congress’ ambitions of forging the ‘mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) against the BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BSP supremo Mayawati on Wednesday announced that her party will not stitch an alliance with the Grand Old Party “at any cost” for the upcoming Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
While Mayawati cleared that the BSP will not go hands in hands with the Congress in the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Assembly polls, she kept mum on forming a coalition with the main opposition party for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Blaming the Congress for its “arrogance” and “stubborn attitude”, the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister questioned that the former’s intentions of defeating the BJP.
However, she said that though Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi appeared in favour of an alliance, there were other “senior leaders” who worked to foil any possibility of an understanding.
Mayawati not launching a direct attack on the Congress president and the UPA chairperson leaves Congress in hopes that negotiations with the BSP over forging alliance may still be possible.
The Congress hoped the BSP chief reposing her faith in Rahul and Sonia Gandhi will provide it a window of opportunity and “creases will be ironed out” with harmony.
“The Congress is under the wrong impression that it can match all the tactics of BJP…If the BJP faces just the Congress, it can easily form the government. Still the Congress does not seem prepared for an honest alliance between opposition parties,” Mayawati said in a statement circulated by the Bahujan Samaj Party(BSP).
“Now, the BSP has decided to go it alone in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. We will not fight the elections with the Congress in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan at any cost,” Mayawati said.
Mayawati said that though Rahul Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi wanted an alliance with the BSP, there were some “selfish senior” leaders in their party who were out to foil any understanding.
Congress leaders like Digvijay Singh do not wish for a Congress-BSP alliance, she claimed.
“A selfish senior leader, who is also a BJP agent, in his TV interview talking about the alliance claimed the BSP president was under pressure of ED and CBI to deter her from entering into an alliance. But this is totally baseless,” Mayawati asserted.
“The Congress party’s ‘arrogance’ is now evident and they feel that they can take on the BJP on their own. The truth is that the people are unwilling to forgive the Congress for their corrupt government,” she added.
Earlier, in another setback to the Congress, Mayawati had announced BSP’s alliance with Ajit Jogi’s Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (JCC) for the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, scheduled later this year. Announcing the alliance, Mayawati said that Ajit Jogi will become the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh if party comes to power.
She had also released a list of 22 candidates in Morena and Shivpuri — a region which is considered a stronghold of Congress’ campaign manager Jyotiraditya Scindia.
Have Been One of Bitterest Critics of Modi, Amit Shah: Digvijaya Singh
Digvijaya Singh said he has already made it clear that he respects Mayawati and has been in favour of Congress-BSP alliance from the very beginning and talks between the two parties have already been held.
“Please ask her, as far as I am concerned, I had been one of the bitterest critics of Modi ji, Amit Shah ji, BJP and RSS. Rahul Gandhi is our Congress chief, we follow his directions,” said Digvijaya Singh.
“I’ve already made it clear that I respect Mayawati ji and have been in favour of Congress-BSP alliance from beginning. In Chhattisgarh, there were talks for alliance but she didn’t go for it. In MP too there were talks of alliance, she declared 22 candidates,” he added.
Creases Will be Ironed Out With Harmony: Congress
Responding to the attacks by Mayawati, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Mayawati has expressed her sentiments and the party respects that. ” At times, out of emotions, sweet and bitter things are said. She has reposed full faith in Rahul ji and Sonia ji and we respect that too. If there is harmony among Sonia Gandhi, who is our guide, and Rahul Gandhi, who is our leader, and Mayawati ji, then no fourth person can create a rift among them.”
“If there are any creases left, they will be ironed out mutually among them with harmony,” he told reporters in Delhi.
Surjewala also said once the leaders have amicable, respectable, fruitful relationship with each other, “all other creases can be ironed out.”
To a question on whether the Congress still has hope left in an alliance with the BSP, he said the BSP leader has expressed mutual respect and confidence towards the Congress president as also Sonia Gandhi.
“I think that is the most important rather than reading multiple meanings in the statement of Mayawati ji.”
Coalition Not in Congress’ DNA: BJP
The BJP took a swipe at the Congress after Mayawati’s announcement with its leader and union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad saying forging a coalition was not in its DNA and it only gives importance to the Gandhi family.
“With whom the Congress allies is entirely their business, but in light of concerns and pain of Mayawati, I can only say that coalition is not a part of the Congress DNA. They only give importance to the family,” Prasad told reporters in Delhi.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav also took a dig at the opposition over its unity efforts.
“Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) in ‘progress’. First AAP and now BSP calling the bluff. Mayawati says Congress arrogant, a new revelation for her, and declares no alliance in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan too. Chhattisgarh already dumped,” he tweeted.