The Samajwadi Party on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of any alliances for the 2019 general elections “as of now”, PTI reported.

Its president and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said strengthening the party’s organisation and its vote bank was his priority. “The 2019 elections are certainly crucial as the message from Uttar Pradesh will go out to the entire country,” he said. “As of now, I am not thinking of an alliance with any party.”

This comes as bad news for the Congress, which had contested the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh in alliance with the Samajwadi Party in 2017. The Bharatiya Janata Party won a whopping 321 seats in the polls, while the SP-Congress alliance bagged only 54.

“It [alliance talks and seat negotiations] wastes a lot of time, and I don’t want to be in confusion [over seats],” Yadav said, adding that the Samajwadi Party could bargain at a later stage if an alliance materialises as there was a lot of time before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The former chief minister said he was open to “friendships” with like-minded parties, and that he would be taking out a rath yatra across Uttar Pradesh to mobilise party workers soon. Yadav also said that the Samajwadi Party would contest the elections where its organisation was strong.

“We have a strong organisational base in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh,” he said. “We are also working in Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.”

Yadav also claimed that in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, it was the Bahujan Samaj Party’s vote bank, not the Samajwadi Party’s, that had shifted to the BJP. “The people still remember my regime and are now realising their mistake,” he said.

Although the electorate gave the BJP a chance, it has failed, Yadav said. “The Adityanath government has failed… They are just carrying our work forward by putting up their plaques,” he added.