Ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections, strategies in the form of alliances are being worked out to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in particular. On the same lines, Akhilesh and Mayawati are also believed to have sealed the deal of an alliance between the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), however, suspense remains on if Congress will be a part of their 'gathbandhan.' Both Akhilesh and Mayawati have decided to fight the upcoming national elections together and have already worked out a seat sharing arrangement. They had won 73 seats from the state in 2014 along with its allies.
On being asked about an official announcement regarding BSP-SP alliance, Akhilesh hinted that an announcement would be made this week.
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"You will come to know about it (alliance) in a week or so," Yadav said when asked as to when an official announcement will be made.
On the possibility of the Congress joining the alliance, Yadav said, "The two leaders of the 'gathbandhan' have to decide whether Congress will be there or not."
Yadav declined to elaborate further, leaving the opposition parties guessing on whether the Congress will be accommodated.
Yadav had recently expressed displeasure against the Congress for not including its lone MLA in the new Madhya Pradesh ministry headed by Kamal Nath.
BSP leader Mayawati too has said it may withdraw its support to the Congress in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan if the cases against Dalits lodged during a protest last year are not withdrawn.
Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), which has a presence in western UP, has also been accommodated in the alliance.
The politically crucial Uttar Pradesh sends 80 lawmakers to the Lok Sabha. The ruling BJP has dubbed the development as "opportunistic" and "anti-people".
By joining hands, the opposition parties had defeated the BJP in three Lok Sabha bypolls in the state last year, the first show of strength after the 2017 Assembly elections which saw the saffron party storm to power in the state after a 14-year hiatus.
In the last parliamentary elections in 2014, the BJP won 71 seats in the state, securing 42.63 per cent of the votes. BJP ally Apna Dal bagged two more.
The Samajwadi Party had won five seats with a vote share of 22.35 per cent. The BSP did not win any seat while securing 19.77 per cent votes.
The Congress had registered wins in two seats, bagging 7.53 per cent of the votes.
(With PTI inputs)