Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav confirmed that his outfit will ally with rival Bahujan Samaj Party against the Bharatiya Janata Party for the 2019 General Elections. “It is obvious that we have to come together,” Yadav said in an interview to NDTV. “Based on our conversation, both our parties will together fight elections in 2019”.

The Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party had tied up for bye-polls held in Uttar Pradesh in March, which the Samajwadi Party had won with the help of its alliance partner. One of the bye-polls was held in Gorakhpur, the bastion of Chief Minister Adityanath. Adityanath had held the seat for five consecutive terms prior to the electoral upset.

“I didn’t talk to Mayawati directly but to some of her leaders,” the report quoted Yadav as saying on Saturday. “Her leaders and some of mine know each other. The coordinators began talks first, then the talks came to me.”

He added: “This alliance is important. If I have to take two steps back, I am willing to do it.”

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati had earlier accused the BJP of trying to create problems between her and the Samajwadi Party. “BSP and SP workers will not fall prey to the BJP’s designs in the interests of the nation and the people. We, along with all Opposition parties, will have to definitely stop them from coming to power at the Centre this time,” she had said.

Both regional parties have repeatedly claimed that the BJP is anti-Dalit. “Because of the conspiracy the BJP hatched against a Dalit getting elected, the SP-BSP unity has strengthened all the more for the Lok Sabha polls,” Yadav had said in March.