Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, the 'Bua' and 'Babua' of Uttar Pradesh politics are back again and an official announcement in this regard is all set to be made at a joint press conference on Saturday. While the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have decided to come together in Uttar Pradesh ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due this year, Congress has been kept out of it.
Just a day ahead of the presser, Akhilesh Yadav on Friday said that the alliance will get the math right in the upcoming parliamentary elections and the BJP will face defeat.
"Last time we had come together in the Lok Sabha by-elections and BJP had lost the seats (earlier held by) Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya. This time too our math will be right and the BJP will face defeat," Yadav said on Friday.
Akhilesh also said that the alliance has not only created fear in the BJP but also in the Congress.
Reacting sharply to the development, Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said ignoring the party can be a dangerous mistake.
He 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.
The top leadership of the SP and the BSP recently met in Delhi to discuss the broad parameters of an alliance to take on the BJP in the parliamentary elections just months away.
After the meeting, the SP said Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati had given their “in-principle approval”.
Sources said the SP and the BSP are planning to contest on 37 seats each out of the 80 on offer in Uttar Pradesh and plan to leave just two, Rae Bareli and Amethi, the bastions of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, for the Congress.
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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 party should seek its pound of flesh in any alliance.
They cite the example of 2009 when the Congress romped home with 22 Lok Sabha seats in UP, surprising many.
They also say that with party chief Rahul Gandhi getting more "combative” against the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress now stands a better chance than before.
At a party convention in Delhi on Friday, BJP president Amit Shah mocked the "bua-bhatija" alliance of the parties led by Yadav and Mayawati.
He said they could not stand each other but have now joined hands due to the fear of the BJP, echoing remarks made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a recent rally in Agra.
Shah claimed that the BJP is on its way to win more than 50 per cent votes in Uttar Pradesh, asserting the saffron alliance's tally will improve from the 73 Lok Sabha seats it won in 2014 out of the state's 80.
Last year, Yadav and Mayawati decided to bury their differences to contest three bypolls.
The joint opposition victories in the bypolls in Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana was seen as a consolidation of Other Backward Classes, Dalits and Muslim votes, and raised expectations of a similar math working in the 2019 elections.
In recent days, Yadav and Mayawati have put out press statements that mention a "gathbandhan".
Mayawati's press statement was in solidarity with Yadav amid reports that the CBI might question him in connection with 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 statement to condemn Modi's remarks in Agra on Mayawati "forgetting" an attack on her by SP workers in 1995.
"The PM is scared of the alliance," Yadav said.
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(With PTI inputs)