In what could be an indication of Opposition unity before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, arch-enemies Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati might come together for a joint rally in Uttar Pradesh.
According to a report by the Times of India, the idea of a joint rally was mooted at the Friday lunch hosted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. RJD chief Lalu Yadav asked both Mayawati and Akhilesh to come together to help host a big "political congregation" of anti-BJP parties across the country, the report said.
SP's Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Agarwal confirmed that the idea to organise joint rallies was floated and unanimously agreed upon by leaders present at the event.
"A joint opposition is the need of the hour to take on the BJP," Agarwal was quoted as saying by the newspaper. He said that the UP rally will be organized after the one by Lalu in Patna on August 27.
While there has been no confirmation from the BSP's top leaders, Mayawati is said to have endorsed the idea.
"I am 100 per cent with you," she reportedly said at the meeting.
The last time SP and BSP came together was in 1993 when the two political parties entered a pre-poll alliance ahead of the UP Assembly elections. While the SP was headed by Akhilesh's father Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati's mentor Kanshiram was at the helm of the affairs in the BSP.
The alliance ended after BSP withdrew the support from the Mulyam-led government. The animosity reached at its peak when Mayawati was attacked in the state guesthouse following her decision.
The SP got only 47 seats in the recently-conlcuded polls for 403-member UP Assembly. The BSP managed to win just 19 seats.