A day after winning the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha bypolls, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav indicated that his party was keen on burying its bitter rivalry with Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Addressing the media here today, Yadav said that sometimes "past incidents have to be forgotten".
"Samajwadis always give due respect to all and that is why today we have good relations with all. People were recalling old incidents but sometimes they have to be forgotten," he said.
Yadav also said that his party's relations with Congress too continued to be good.
Yesterday, in a scene which seemed unimaginable only till the recent past, Yadav had rushed to the residence of the BSP supremo shortly after his candidates emerged victorious and thanked her.
The SP and the BSP, bitter foes of UP politics, have been at daggers drawn ever since the infamous state guest house case of 1995. In June 1995, Samajwadi Party workers, who were angry with Mayawati for withdrawing support to Mulayam Singh Yadav, had targeted the BSP chief who was present at the state guest house on Meera Bai Marg here.
Also Read: UP LS bypolls: BSP backed Samajwadi Party pulls off emphatic victories in Gorakhpur, Phulpur
Following SP's win in the bypolls, there has been much speculation about UP's two biggest regional parties joining hands to take on a formidable BJP in the 2019 general elections.
On ties with the Congress, with which SP had an electoral truck in the last Assembly elections, Yadav said the good relations would continue.
"We both are young and together will have to find a way out to the problems facing the country. Rahul Gandhi has congratulated me as well as other senior leaders and I have thanked them all," Yadav said referring to the Congress chief.
To a volley of questions on the future course of action, the SP chief remarked, "No one can say anything about the future."
When his attention was drawn to the Congress campaigning against his party in the by polls, the former chief minister stressed "only those who forget old things are successful."
He said the previous SP government in Uttar Pradesh presented an example of development before the country.
Despite the victory of his candidates, Yadav raised questions about EVMs.
"Had the EVMs worked smoothly and no time was wasted, the victory margin of Samajwadis would have been much bigger. In several of them (EVM machines), votes had already been cast (even before the process of polling began). We have complained about it and Election Commission should take note of it," he alleged.
The ballot system is the best way of voting as it helps people vent their anger, he said.
"The entire anger of the voters could not come out through the EVMs, had the ballot been used the impact of the anger would have been clear," he stressed.
Watch video: Akhilesh Yadav addresses media
Meanwhile, veteran Samajwadi Party leader and Akhilesh’s father Mulayam Singh Yadav extended congratulatory message to his son Akhilesh and party workers.
When he was asked about the possibility of SP-BSP contesting 2019 Lok Sabha polls together, he said, “You have got the formula to defeat the BJP.” (BJP ko harane ka formula aap logon ko mil gaya hai…)
“There were alliance in past… our and BSP alliance was even before Mayawatiji and before that we were in the same party,” he added.
When quizzed about the guest house incident, he replied: “Leave it… it is irrelevant.”
Shivpal Yadav congratulates nephew Akhilesh
Senior Samajwadi Party leader Shivpal Yadav congratulated Akhilesh Yadav and party workers for bypoll victory in Gorakhpur and Phulpur.
Shivpal, who is SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav's younger brother and uncle of former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, took to Twitter to congratulate the former CM.
“Lot of congratulations to the people and party workers of Phulpur and Gorakhpur Lok Sabha bypolls results. Congratulations also to the workers, good leadership and to the winning candidates. I think this win will set a milestone on the fight for social justice,” he tweeted.
Shivpal's congratulatory message came several months after he was locked in a bitter struggle for power with Akhilesh.
Watch video: Shivpal Yadav congratulates Akhilesh