Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati have announced a pre-poll alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, keeping Congress firmly out of the gathbandhan. Addressing a press conference in Lucknow, BSP chief Mayawati said that the alliance was aimed at defeating BJP and company in forthcoming general elections.
The top leadership of both the parties had met in New Delhi recently to discuss broad parameters of an alliance to take on the BJP unitedly in the Lok Sabha elections.
Highlights of Mayawati-Akhilesh joint presser:
01:03 pm: Sudhanshu Trivedi, BJP on SP BSP alliance: Both parties are contesting together just to save their political ground. These parties have blamed each other of murder in the past. Anyway, its their choice. We are confident. Even if all parties come together, we will still win.
Varanasi: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) & Samajwadi Party (SP) party workers celebrate after BSP Chief Mayawati and Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav announce to contest upcoming Lok Sabha elections together. pic.twitter.com/j27dEbd3m9— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) January 12, 2019
12:55 pm: Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath on SP BSP alliance: Today there is a need of alliances in the entire country. BJP got only 31 per cent vote in 2014 and claimed it was people's mandate, this happened due to split in votes.
12:50 pm: Akhilesh Yadav on if he will support Mayawati for PM: You know who is my choice. Uttar Pradesh has given Prime Ministers in the past and trend will be repeated again
12:45 pm: Mayawati's honour is my honour. If someone from BJP ever tries to disgrace her, I will consider it as my insult: Akhilesh Yadav
12:42 pm: To defeat the arrogance of BJP, it was necessary for BSP and SP to come together. BJP can go to any extent to create differences in our workers, we must be united and counter any such tactic: Akhilesh
12:40 pm: More trouble brewing for Congress, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee welcomes SP-BSP alliance: 'I welcome the alliance of the SP and the BSP for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections'
12:35 pm: Farmers are committing suicide because of Centre's poor governance. BJP has divided Uttar Pradesh on the lines of caste. fake encounters have become rampant. Doctors ask for caste identity before starting someone's medical care. BJP has even divided Gods on the caste-lines. BJP is doing so to deviate attention from its bad governance: Akhilesh Yadav
12:32 pm: Congress lost its power to Bofors, Modi govt will follow suit because of Rafale: Mayawati
12:30 pm: BSP and SP will contest on 38 seats each in UP. Two Lok Sabha seats we have left for other parties and Amethi and Rae Bareli have been left for Congress, says Mayawati.
12:28 pm: On the other hand, an alliance with SP and BSP results in equal vote share: Mayawati
12:27 pm: When we ally with Congress, we have to face loss of seats and voter percentage, so we have decided never to ally with Congress or any other such party anywhere in the country in the future. Congress not included in SP-BSP alliance in UP as during its rule poverty, unemployment and corruption grew: Mayawati
12:24 pm: We do not want Congress in the alliance because it is their corruption and bad rule that forced the birth of parties like Samajwadi party and BSP. Both, BJP and Congress rules have seen major defence scams. At the time of Congress there was a declared emergency and now there is an undeclared one. Hence we do not benefit from an alliance with Congress: Mayawati
12:20 pm: SP-BSP alliance had started its successful partnership with Lok Sabha bypolls, at the time Congress candidates had even lost their deposit: Maaywati
12:15 pm: We(BSP-SP) have decided to contest upcoming Lok Sabha elections together, this will lead to a new political revolution in the country: Mayawati
12:13 pm: To defat the communal and castiest forces prevalent today, we have decided to forget the past, even the Guest House Kand, and join forces: Mayawati
12:12 pm: The real aim of the alliance is to restore and fulfill the dream of Kanshiram. he had joined hands with Samajwadi Party in 1993 to fight against communal forces in the state. But 'due to some grave reasons' the alliance was not successful: Mayawati
12:11 pm: This joint press conference will rob 'guru-chela', Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, of their sleep: Mayawati
12:03 pm: Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav share dais as they are set to announce SP-BSP pre-poll alliance shortly
11:55 am: Both, Mayawati and Akhilesh leave from their respective homes for press conference.
11:15 am: BJP dismisses SP-BSP alliance? Even as BJP chief and spokesperson have dismissed the SP-BSP alliance as a union of 'opportunistic' parties, the MLAs India TV's team spoke to confess that an alliance of two parties will create tremendous pressure on the ruling party.
11:02 am: SP- BSP alliance return after 25 years: The last time SP and BSP allied was in 1993. At the time, Sp's Mulayam SIngh and BSP founder Kashiram had joined hands to challenge the 'Ram-wave'. Twenty-five years on Akhilesh and Mayawati are coming together against the 'Modi-wave'.
#SPBSP alliance return after 25 years: Last time SP&BSP allied was in 1993. At the time, SP's Mulayam SIngh and BSP founder Kashiram had joined hands to challenge the 'Ram-wave'. 25 years on Akhilesh &Mayawati are coming together against the 'Modi-wave'.https://t.co/nCUfMFPSfa pic.twitter.com/Z2ywYol3Qp— India TV (@indiatvnews) January 12, 2019
10:30 am: Congress terms new alliance a dangerous mistake:
The Congress described this likelihood as a "very dangerous mistake" and said it was ready to fight the parliamentary polls alone in the state. In Delhi, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the objective of all opposition parties should be to defeat the ruling BJP and eliminate "autocracy, misgovernance" at the Centre.
"We may have fallen on difficult times. But I think to ignore us can prove to be a very dangerous mistake,” he told reporters when asked about the possible SP-BSP alliance.
“Since everybody realises that, I think we will have a happy and harmonious solution sometime in the near future," he added. Uttar Pradesh Congress spokesperson Rajiv Bakshi said the party was ready to fight the coming elections alone in the state."We alone have 45 seats in the Lok Sabha and it is any day many more than the regional players,” he said. “A 'mahagathbandhan' in the Lok Sabha elections needs to be built around the party having a national face," Bakshi said.
09:30 am: Announcement of presser: The joint press conference at a posh hotel in Lucknow was announced Friday by SP national secretary Rajendra Chaudhary and Bahujan Samaj Party national general secretary SC Misra.
09:15 am: Congress happy to be out? Congress leaders like PL Punia, who delivered Chhattisgarh to the Congress as its state in-charge, and UPCC chief Raj Babbar are reportedly of the view that the Congress should not "be sheepish in alliance negotiations any more" and should seek its pound of flesh. They cite the example of 2009 when the Congress romped home with 22 Lok Sabha seats in UP, surprising many prophets of doom. They also say that with party chief Rahul Gandhi getting more "combative, direct and effective" in taking on the Modi juggernaut, the Congress stood better chances in going alone.
09:00 am: Gathbandhan over mahagathbandhan: Over the week, Yadav and Mayawati also put out press statements that specifically referred to the word "gathbandhan".
08:30 am: Bonhomie over CBI: Mayawati has come out in solidarity with Yadav amid reports that the CBI might question him on investigations into a mining scam that allegedly took place when he was chief minister. "Don't be shaken," she advised him.Yadav returned the favour when he put out a press release to condemn Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks at a rally in Agra on Mayawati, "forgetting" an attack on her by Samajwadi Party workers in 1995 for "political gains". "The PM is scared of the alliance," said Yadav.
08:00 am: Burying the old hatchet: In Agra, Modi sought to drive a wedge between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party when he said that the two parties which could not see eye to eye were joining hands. Last year, Yadav and Mayawati decided to bury their differences and pool in their resources to contest three bypolls and won all. It gave them hope that if they team up, they can pull voters away from the BJP.
07:30 am: 'Opportunistic' or mathematics: The mahagathbandhan arithmetic had worked in the bypolls as a consolidation of OBC, Dalit and Muslim votes powered joint opposition candidates to victory in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana last year. If they try to replicate their success in the 2019 national polls, it might upset the apple cart of the BJP, which recently lost three major state elections, feel analysts. A senior BJP leader, when contacted, sought to play down the SP-BSP tie-up as "opportunistic" politics and expressed confidence that the saffron party will come out with flying colours on the plank of development as it believed in 'sab ka saath, sab ka vikas'.
ALSO READ | Mahagathbandhan remains distant dream as Akhilesh, Mayawati want to keep Congress away in Uttar Pradesh
(With inputs from agencies)