Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav have the alliance math worked out. In a much-awaited press conference, Mayawati announced that Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party would contest on 38 seats each, while two seats were left for "allies" (presumably Rashtriya Loktantrik Dal) though she did not specify the names. She also said that the alliance will not field any candidate on Congress bastions Raebareli and Amethi as a courtesy to Congress.
"Amethi aur Raebareli ki Lok Sabha seats Congress ke saath gathbandhan kiye bina hi party ke liye chhod di hain, taaki BJP ke log Congress party ke adhyaksh ko yahin uljha kar na rakh saken," she said.
However, apart from sparing the two seats, the alliance partners were unsparing in their attack on the grand old party. Explaining why they left out Congress from the alliance, Mayawati said: "Both BSP, and SP have allied with Congress in the past and we have seen that it is possible. The party has reigned at Centre and in Uttar Pradesh for years on end, and yet the poor and the marginalised people suffered under their rule."
Mayawati said that an alliance is profitable only when the constituent parties can successfully transfer their votes to each other. That, she said, was not the case when SP and BSP allied with Congress in the past. "Congress ke bohot sare ummidwaar to apni zamanat bhi nahi bacha paye (Many Congress candidates could not even save their deposits)," Mayawati quipped.
Asserting that the SP-BSP alliance will lead to "a new political revolution in the country", Mayawati slammed the two national parties. Mayawati said, "The policies of the BJP and Congres, no matter who was in power, were the same."
She said the similarities between them were evident from the fact that BJP, like Congress was charges of corruption in defence deals. "Bofors took down Congress, and Rafale will sink BJP's ship," she said.
Comparing the two national parties, she also said that while Congress declared Emergency in India, the BJP made sure that there is an atmosphere of an "undeclared Emergency" in the country.
The BSP supremo said that the party's alliance with SP "will rob" guru-chela Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah "of sleep"ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
"BJP and their allies should be stopped from coming to power at the Centre at any cost," Mayawati said. She added, "With SP and BSP in an alliance, BJP candidates will not be successful in Uttar Pradesh."
"I have full confidence that just as our alliance defeated the BJP in the Lok Sabha bypolls, we will crush the saffron party in the general elections," Mayawati said, referring to the BJP's defeat in Phulpur, Gorakhpur and Kairana parliamentary bypolls.
Mayawati made a strong pitch for the marginalised communities like Dalits, adivasis, farmers, labourers, and also minorities like Muslims. She said that the alliance would work to "safeguard their rights" at every stage.
Appealing to voters, Mayawati said that there was no way that the BJP could win in Uttar Pradesh if the above-mentioned sections of the society united against it and voted for the alliance. Appearing confident of a win on all seats in Uttar Pradesh, she, however, noted that the BJP should not "rig" voting machines "as it did in the previous election". She also advised voters to remain guarded against any possible attempts to polarise the elections on the basis of religion.
Akhilesh, echoing the BSP leader's statements said that the "arrogance" of the BJP had to be defeated by an alliance between the "SP and BSP". He said, "The BJP can go to any extent to create differences in our workers, but we must be united and counter any such tactic."
When asked about Mayawati's prime ministerial bid, however, Akhilesh chose not to give a clear answer and said that everyone "knew his choice" for the post. "Uttar Pradesh has given prime ministers in the past and the trend will be repeated again," he said.
To a question on seat-sharing with the Rashtriya Lok Dal in western Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav said the media would be informed about it in due course. Asked whether it was a "natural alliance", Mayawati said, “This will last long, beyond Lok Sabha polls and the state's Assembly elections.”
The two leaders did not make it clear whether they will themselves contest the polls, which are to be held in the near future. Mayawati accused the BJP of spending a massive amount of money on Shivpal Yadav, who recently floated the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia, suggesting that it was being "run by the BJP" and was meant to split the non-BJP vote.
"The money will go down the drain," she said. Mayawati also said she had put the 1995 guest house incident — when she was allegedly attacked by SP supporters — behind her for national interest.
Akhilesh asked SP workers to ensure Mayawati gets the respect due to her. "Mayawati's respect is my respect. An insult to her is an insult to me. If any BJP men or others say anything against her, it will be against me," Yadav said, seeming to warn his party workers against a repeat of the 1995 incident. On the formation of the alliance, Yadav said, “I had said that if I have to take two steps backwards for the alliance, I will do it," Akhilesh said, thanking Mayawati.
On Friday, Akhilesh said that the alliance will get the math right in the general 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," Akhilesh said.
The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister had said on Friday that the BJP had become strong because it joined hands with regional parties and his party was also gaining strength by forming a coalition. "Our (BSP and SP) coming together has not only created fear in the BJP but also in the Congress," Akhilesh added. The BSP and SP alliance has virtually shut its doors to Congress in the state.
Akhilesh gave a slogan for the upcoming polls: "Humara kaam bolta hai, BJP ka dhokha bolta hai" (Our work speaks for itself, BJP's betrayal speaks). NDTV quoted the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister as saying that the alliance with Mayawati was "very important" because the BJP and its alliances "had won 73 of Uttar Pradesh's 80 seats" in 2014.
The Congress termed the decision of leaving it out of the alliance in a state with one of the largest Assemblies as a "very dangerous mistake". Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the objective of all opposition parties should be to defeat the ruling BJP and eliminate "autocracy, and 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.
Reports also said that Smaller parties like the RLD and the Nishad Party are also likely to be in the alliance but they are cautious about seat-sharing. Ajit Singh's RLD, which wanted five seats in western Uttar Pradesh but is only being offered two, already expressed its displeasure soon after the press conference was over.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jan 12, 2019 16:50:59 IST