Ending months’ long speculation, Samajwadi Party and its arch rival Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Saturday formally joined hands for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Addressing a joint press conference in Lucknow, BSP supremo Mayawati said both parties will contest on 38 seats each.
“The BSP-SP will contest 38 seats each, out of 80 seats in the state. We are confident of defeating the BJP unless they tamper with the electronic voting machines (EVMs),” said Mayawati.
Accusing the BJP of stoking religious passions, Mayawati said there is an “unannounced emergency” under the present BJP rule in India.
“The alliance is not just to win polls, but to represent common people. The only way to stop the BJP from returning to power is through Uttar Pradesh,” the BSP chief added.
Samajwadi Party (SP) President Akhilesh Yadav also addressed the conference. Echoing Mayawati’s views, the SP chief said that people were being killed because of their caste in the BJP regime.
“I would like to thank Mayawati for an equitable alliance. This is an end to the BJP misrule,” he added, hinting that the SP may support Mayawati’s candidature for the Prime Ministership.
“You know who my choice is. Uttar Pradesh has given Prime Ministers in the past and the trend will be repeated again,” said Akhilesh Yadav.
Both parties have said that they won’t contest from two Lok Sabha seats, Amethi and Rae Bareli, currently represented by Congress President Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Both the constituencies are seen as the bastions of Congress Party.
Both the leaders also expressed confidence that differences between their parties were a thing of the past. While Akhilesh said any insult to Mawayati will be his insult, Mayawati returned the favour by stating that she had forgotten the infamous guest house incident in the interest of the nation.
Twenty-four years ago, in 1994, Mayawati and her MLAs were confined in a guest house in Lucknow by then SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his party men, which created bad blood between the two regional parties.
Opposition parties welcomed the SP-BSP alliance. TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee welcomed the decision. MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath said the alliance is the need of the hour.
RJD leader Tejashvi Yadav said BJP’s downfall has begun.
However, the BJP has put on a brave face, in its reaction to the announcement. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that SP-BSP could not fight Modi on their own and “their opposition to Modi is the sole base of their alliance.”