Tribune News Service
Lucknow, January 12
Formally announcing their alliance in Uttar Pradesh today, giving each 38 Lok Sabha seats, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party have vexed both the BJP and the Congress.
At a press conference, BSP supremo Mayawati and SP national chief Akhilesh Yadav ended speculation about the arch rivals joining hands to defeat the BJP.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the SP had won five of the 80 seats, the BSP none. In the 2017 Assembly elections, the SP and BSP got 22 per cent votes each.
Mayawati admitted that she had forgotten and forgiven the 1995 guest house episode in the “interest of the electoral agreement, which is in the interest of the country, beleaguered by the BJP and its policies”.
Explaining the rationale behind leaving only two seats of Amethi and Rae Bareli, represented by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati said it was the experience of both BSP and SP that while their votes were transferred to the Congress, the move was not reciprocated, leaving them high and dry and reducing their vote share as well.
While two seats have reportedly been left for Rashtriya Lok Dal and the remaining two for likely partners like Nishad Party and Peace Party, there was no mention of these parties at the press conference.
According to the BSP chief, it was the proposed alliance which had made the BJP nervous, making it resort to “misusing the CBI against Akhilesh in the alleged illegal mining case”. “This has only strengthened the alliance,” she claimed.
Announcing that his party was ready to take a few steps backwards in the interest of the alliance with BSP, Akhilesh said he was doing so as the alliance was crucial to dislodge the BJP.
Urging his party cadre to refer to Mayawati with respect, he said any disrespect shown to her would be construed as disrespect shown to him.
Earlier, the two leaders in their first public appearance together greeted each other warmly by exchanging bouquets. Akhilesh had visited Mayawati in New Delhi last week to give the final touches to the alliance.
Reacting to the formal announcement of the alliance, AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad said that UPCC president Raj Babbar and leaders Pramod Tewari and Sanjay Singh will speak to the media tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the BSP-SP alliance was an attempt of these parties to save their own existence and nothing more. Ahead of the joint press conference, the entire city had been decked up with posters of Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, indicating the new bonhomie.
SP-BSP tie-up is a natural alliance, a political revolution. This will last long, even beyond LS polls and in UP Assembly elections. Mayawati, BSP Supremo
‘We will stop BJP’
The path of Delhi’s power traverses through Uttar Pradesh and our alliance will be able to stop the BJP for sure. Akhilesh Yadav, SP National Chief